Not even kidney stones could stop Vic Fangio and the Broncos from beating the Falcons in their first preseason game of the season.
Denver defeated Atlanta 14-10 in the Hall of Fame Game Thursday night in Canton, Ohio, which featured everything from battling kidney stones, to subpar quarterback play to a game-winning grab from a rookie.
Here's five takeaways from the game:
Fangio battles kidney stones.
Early Thursday Fangio suffered from the passing of a kidney stone.
Broncos’ HC Vic Fangio, scheduled to make his HC debut tonight vs Atlanta in Hall-Of-Fane game, spent a good part of the day in a Cleveland hospital with a kidney stone, per source. Fangio has not passed it yet, but he is doing better and he will try to coach tonight.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 1, 2019
Despite having to go to the hospital, Fangio still made his head coaching debut. At halftime, he told NBC's sideline reporter, Lisa Salters, the kidney stone still hadn't passed.
Of course, he finished the game anyway.
Young guys shine as starters see little to no action.
There was no sign of linebacker Von Miller, corner Chris Harris Jr., running back Phillip Lindsay or newly acquired quarterback Joe Flacco, as well as other typical starters for the Broncos.
Khalfani Muhammad took full advantage of Lindsey not playing, rushing for 50 yards and one touchdown. Another standout was rookie wide receiver Juwann Winfree, who caught only one ball the entire game, but it was also the biggest. Winfree caught a tipped pass in the back of the end zone with less than two minutes to play to win the game.
Quarterback play was ... not great.
With Flacco not playing, it gave Kevin Hogan and rookie Drew Lock plenty of opportunity to prove who should be the backup heading into the season. Good thing there's four more preseason games, because neither showed much Thursday.
Hogan started the game, going 5 of 8 for 37 yards through the air. Lock, who was taken 42nd overall in the 2019 NFL draft, entered with 13:01 in the second quarter and played all the way through the third.
Lock missed on multiple throws, most notably one down the right sideline intended for a wide-open Muhammad. He finished 7 of 11 for 34 yards and was sacked twice. Brett Rypien finished the game for the Broncos, going 5 of 10 for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Fangio's defense impresses early.
If there's one thing Fangio knows, it's defense.
In his head coaching debut, his defense performed to expectations holding Atlanta to 261 total yards. The Falcons were able to score a touchdown right before the half, but weren't able to get in the end zone again. A 27-yard field goal in the third quarter would be the last points Atlanta would score.
Safety Dymonte Thomas led the team in tackles with six, while corner Trey Johnson forced the team's only turnover with an interception late in the fourth quarter.
Fans get first look at new pass interference rule.
Late in the second quarter, Broncos cornerback Linden Stephens was called for pass interference while defending Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage. Fangio challenged the call, believing Stephens did not commit a penalty.
This is a new rule this season after the controversial no call in the NFC Championship Game last year between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Coaches will be able to use their challenge flag on pass interference calls if they believe the officials clearly got the call wrong or missed the call completely.
In this case, Fangio was wrong as the referees ruled the pass interference was correct after further review.