Brandon Allen dazzles in debut, leads Denver to big win over Browns

Brandon Allen throws against the Browns in his NFL debut. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.
Brandon Allen throws against the Browns in his NFL debut. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.

Did the Denver Broncos just find their next quarterback?

Probably not, but, you never know.

Brandon Allen was electric and his brilliant play was the highlight of Denver’s 24-19 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Allen, a complete and total unknown in the NFL, lit up the Browns defense all day long. He showed mobility, great touch and played with zero hesitation as he sliced and diced Cleveland.

The first great throw from Allen came on Denver’s second drive of the day. From the 21 yard line, Allen dropped back and threw a beauty to Courtland Sutton, leading him in the end zone where rising star leapt and pulled in the touchdown. (It should be noted Sutton made a spectacular catch on the throw.)

Two drives later, it took only one play for for Allen to put a second touchdown on the board. Although, it must be noted again that score was much more due to tight end Noah Fant’s fantastic play to break multiple tackles on his 75-yard catch-and-run to the end zone.

Just like that, the Broncos led 14-3.

But Allen was at his best when Denver needed him to be the most.

Early in the second half, with the Broncos up 17-12 and needing some momentum on the offensive side of the ball, it was the Allen-Broncos offense to push the team to the end zone and extend their lead to two scores.

First, there was the roll-out pass to Fant for 16 yards while the tight end was double-covered. Allen dropped it in over the top of those two defenders for a huge first down.

On the same drive, he connected with Sutton on a slant for a key first down. A few plays later, he hit Fant with a beautiful touch pass over the top of a linebacker for a big gain of 24 yards. That last throw to Fant set up Phillip Lindsay’s 30-yard trot into the end zone.

When it was all said and done, Allen went 12-20 (60 percent) for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t phenomenal, but for a quarterback in his NFL debut? They’re stellar. And he even got to keep the game ball at the end, kneeling it for the win.

In fact, the way he played in his debut, maybe Allen is the Broncos future at quarterback. In the NFL, you just never know.

Tom Brady was picked in the sixth round. Gardner Minshew was drafted in the sixth round, too, by the same Jaguars.

So, who is Allen?

He played his college ball at the University of Arkansas, throwing for 3,440 yards and 30 touchdowns with eight interceptions in 2015. He was then taken in the sixth round of the 2016 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, dropped and picked up by the Los Angeles Rams. He stayed with the Rams until this August, when he was dropped and the Broncos came in to pick him up.

He just enjoyed a great first game, a win in that first game to end Denver’s two-game losing streak, and now Allen will continue starting through the bye week.

Considering how well he played today, the near future is bright for Allen. If he keeps playing like this, it seems unlikely we’ll see second-round pick Drew Lock any time soon.

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