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Paxton Lynch loses his first NFL start

Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

DENVER, Colo-Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons didn’t need another 300-yard performance from Julio Jones to decipher Denver’s dazzling defense and wreck Paxton Lynch’s first NFL start with a 23-16 win over Broncos on Sunday.

Using a steady dose of I-formation runs and short passes that put Denver’s linebackers in coverage, the Falcons (4-1) handed the Super Bowl champs their first loss since Dec. 20 at Pittsburgh and left the Minnesota Vikings (5-0) as the NFL’s last unbeaten team.

The Broncos (4-1) were on their heels having to respect the play-action because Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman were so effective running the ball, combining for 119 yards and a 4.4-yard average.

A week after setting a franchise record with 503 yards passing in a runaway win over Super Bowl 50’s other participant, the Carolina Panthers, Ryan threw for 267 yards Sunday and only two of those (covering 29 yards) went to Jones. Lynch finished 23-of-35 for 223 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception.