QB Teddy Bridgewater - New Orleans Saints
|6-2, 210||Born: 10-10-1992||College: Louisville||Drafted: Round 1, pick 2014|
2017 Week 15 vs CIN (0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
This is more of a feel-good story than anything else. Bridgewater did not complete a pass but saw live action on the field for the first time since his gruesome knee injury at the end of preseason last year. He only had 2 pass attempts, one of which was intercepted, but the standing ovation he received for his return was enough for a mention this week.
2015 Week 1 vs SF (23 / 32 / 231 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / 16 / 0 rush)
It's difficult to get a real handle on how Teddy Bridgewater has improved or regressed when the offensive line he is behind looks like it did against the San Francisco 49ers. John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt were missed terribly Monday night, as Joe Berger was constantly run over at center and rookie TJ Clemings managed to cause a sack at least once. This is not to remove any responsibility from Bridgewater, who made his own problems more than once, but it is to say that as we expected, this injury-plagued offensive line is hurting this offense. The constant pressure from all sides caused Bridgewater to fire off passes without setting his feet, although some of that was because he was on the run during virtually every play. Bridgewater also spent much of the game second-guessing himself and hesitating, such as on a 4th down play near the end of the first quarter. On the play, Bridgewater was forced out of the pocket again, and moved to his left where tight end Kyle Rudolph was wide open. Had he passed the ball right then, Rudolph has a good chance at a first down as the defense is playing too far off him. Instead, Bridegewater double-clutched before sending the ball to his tight end, giving the defense ample time to react and close on Rudolph, killing the play. Bridgewater had several balls sail on him, including a fourth quarter interception meant for Kyle Rudolph. Bridgewater was trying to drop the ball in between two defenders, but that's a pass that can't be anything but perfect and it was far from it. On the plus side, there were several times when Bridgewater showed the quick thinking which often marked his play late last year, such as on a play early in the second quarter which was designed to go deep. However, Niner linebacker Navarro Bowman came through the line untouched. Bridgewater saw that happening and immediately dumped the ball to tight end Rhett Ellison for a short gain. Bridgewater continues to be a work in progress, but with the offensive line a mess, this season could be one where that work is slowed to a crawl.
2015 Week 2 vs DET (14 / 18 / 153 / 1 / 0 pass, 6 / 21 / 1 rush)
After a rough first outing against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1, when the offensive line nearly got him killed on a play by play basis, people were worried about what a tough Detroit Lions front would do to him. We'll let you know when we see one because it didn't show up Sunday. Bridgewater looked comfortable as his offensive line played some improved ball, allowing just one sack and one quarterback hit. While there was pressure at times, Bridgewater did an excellent job of staying cool and delivering smart passes. The best example of this was in the late second quarter, when, while being tackled, Bridgewater had the presence of mind to spot Adrian Peterson just a short distance away and get him the ball on a short toss. Instead of a sack, the play resulted in a 49 yard catch and run. The Vikings and Bridgewater got to work early with a touchdown on their opening drive, a 5-yard bullet from Bridgewater to tight end Kyle Rudolph at the back of the end zone. Bridgewater had plenty of time to throw the ball and Rudolph did an excellent job finding a hole in the coverage for an easy score. Bridgewater also showed his mobility throughout the game, most notably of course on his 1-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. While that called bootleg was nice, the better run came earlier on, when Bridgewater took a quarterback run up the middle on 3rd and 7 for a first down. On the play, Bridgewater showed good patience as he waited for his offensive line to set up the blocks, picked the right hole and did a great job of getting the first and then giving himself up to make sure he didn't get hurt. Overall this was a far cry from last week's mess, and showed that Bridgewater, while still learning, is progressing very well.
2015 Week 3 vs SD (13 / 24 / 121 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Bridgewater wasn't asked to do much in this game. Adrian Peterson got a lot of first down carries and early on Bridgewater was victimized by a dropped touchdown on the part of Kyle Rudolph, then a poorly thrown 50/50 ball for Charles Johnson resulted in an interception. As the game went on, Bridgewater displayed good touch and timing and picked his spots, but resembled a game manager more than a franchise quarterback. His fantasy value is going to be weak in any game that the Vikings keep on their game script, and Bridgewater won't be inclined take risks as a passer.
2015 Week 4 vs DEN (27 / 41 / 269 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 23 / 0 rush)
The second-year quarterback bounced back from two middling outings against the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers with a solid one against the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, his offensive line was a mess again, resulting in seven sacks plus two more quarterback hits and thirteen 'QB hurries.' That's no way to run an effective offense, though there is really only so much that head coach Mike Zimmer can do as the team lost two key pieces suddenly prior to the season. From a positive standpoint, Bridgewater did a good job of hanging in the pocket under pressure to deliver the ball and made relatively smart decisions in throwing it. His one turnover was a killer--a fumble in the fourth quarter which effectively sealed a Denver Broncos victory. On the play, Bridgewater dropped back and was blindsided by Denver safety TJ Ward. There has been some debate as to whether Adrian Peterson, who started the play in the backfield, should have picked up Ward. In the end, ESPN's Ben Goessling tweeted out that it was Peterson's responsibility. It's hard to fault Bridgewater, who was not holding the ball too long throughout the day for the most part, when the line is allowing so much pressure. While the constant pressure was disruptive, Bridgewater did continue to build chemistry with two new weapons--Mike Wallace and rookie Stefon Diggs. With Wallace, the two hooked up for their first touchdown. On the play, Wallace ran a very shallow cross just in front of the line of scrimmage, splitting space between the linebacker and the defensive line. Nobody picked up Wallace, so Bridgewater had an easy decision to make and delivered the pass for the score. As for Diggs, the two hooked up six times, though Diggs also fumbled the ball twice. While he recovered both balls, if he cannot keep a hand on the ball, Bridgewater will look to Charles Johnson when he is healthy. Overall, Bridgewater played relatively mistake-free football and continued to make progress in his development.
2015 Week 6 vs KC (17 / 31 / 249 / 1 / 2 pass, 3 / -5 / 0 rush)
Bridgewater had another uneven day, but we continue to see progress in his game that should keep his advocates off a ledge. He did have a pair of interceptions against Kansas City, though only seemed to really be 100 percent on him. On that play, a 3rd and goal from about the 15 yard line, Bridgewater felt pressure and slipped out of the pocket. At that point he was very clearly looking at tight end Kyle Rudolph and while the coverage was good, a solid throw might have made the play happen (though it's fair to point out that Rudolph would have been short of the end zone anyway). However, it was one of Bridgewater's poorer throws on the day--high and wide--and was picked off by safety Ron Parker in the end zone. While the throw itself wasn't great, it's the decision that is disappointing. Bridgewater needed to get rid of the ball or run for the end zone and slide when the defense stepped up--anything to secure a field goal and some points. He forced the ball when he didn't have to, something he has done throughout his short career. Hopefully that will stop happening over time. The second interception was the combination of a great play by rookie cornerback Marcus Peters and some lackluster effort by receiver Mike Wallace. On the play, Peters was in man coverage on Rudolph, but he spied Wallace crossing the field, trailing a defender. Peters then bailed on his coverage and crossed to where Wallace and ball were to meet. For his own part, Wallace must not have seen him, and felt the ball was too far away, as he didn't make any effort to make a play on the ball. On the plus side, Bridgewater made some outstanding throws as well. One was a perfectly thrown pass to Jarius Wright, which hit him in stride and allowed him to gain additional yards on his way to a 52-yard gain. Bridgewater stood under pressure, saw Wright with a step on the defender and then threw a great ball downfield. What was impressive about it is he didn't even step into the throw - it appeared to be all arm-strength. Had he stepped into it, he might have thrown it even further, which is interesting considering the continuing narrative that Bridgewater lacks the strength and accuracy to go downfield. The touchdown pass was a very nice one as well, thrown to the back of the end zone on a rope, where only Rudolph was going to make a play on the ball. Bridgewater is still a work in progress, but he continues to take steps forward each week.
2015 Week 7 vs DET (25 / 35 / 316 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 1 / 0 rush)
Despite being sacked four times and either hit, pressured or both during passes on many plays, Teddy Bridgewater had one of his best days as the Vikings starting quarterback on Sunday. He threw the ball 35 times, completing 71.4 percent of his passes and showed great poise under some tough pressure from a good Lions defensive line. Bridgewater still tends to hold the ball too long at times, but he also does a great job of extending the play by moving inside or outside of the pocket. Overall, Bridgewater did a good job of protecting the ball, though he was involved in two plays that were fumbles, one on a problematic exchange with Adrian Peterson (which the announcers blamed on Peterson for heading to the hole before securing the ball) and one when he was sacked which rookie tackle TJ Clemmings recovered. For the most part though, he made very good decisions and avoided throwing bad balls. He also did all this on a day when the run game had some issues behind the same offensive line that was causing Bridgewater issues. Bridgewater's two touchdowns were good plays for him as well. On the first, a 1-yard pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph, Bridgewater executed a play-action fake, then rolled out to his right. Rudolph briefly blocked a defender, then crept out on a short out route, completely wide open as the defenders either bit on the fake run, were pursuing Bridgewater or covering Rhett Ellison who had motioned to Rudolph's side. The second touchdown was on a throw to Stefan Diggs that went 43 yards through the air. On the play, Diggs ran a beautiful double-move and left cornerback Rashean Mathis in the lurch. Bridgewater's throw was just a bit long, but Diggs extended himself as he leapt for the ball and made the catch for six points. Overall, we're still seeing a quarterback under construction here, but Bridgewater is starting to look like the quarterback many of us expected to see when he was drafted in 2014.
2015 Week 8 vs CHI (17 / 30 / 187 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 21 / 0 rush)
The second year quarterback had some rough spots, and continues to show bot improvement and poor tendencies--often in the same series. For example, he missed Mike Wallace twice on streaks down the sideline when Wallace was very open--one throw a bit long (and perhaps lost in the sun according to the broadcast and Wallace himself) and the other way overthrown. Wallace and Bridgewater have yet to be able to sustain any real chemistry, even if Wallace has the most catches on the team (26, one ahead of Stefon Diggs), and we saw plenty of that Sunday, including two bad drops from Wallace. It's no surprise that they missed on some deep balls and with the emergence of Diggs and the return of Charles Johnson from injury, Wallace may see some reduction in his role if he and the quarterback can't figure it out. Diggs has been tremendous for Bridgewater, however, and bailed him out a few times during the game. On one play, Diggs got open along the left sideline and Bridgewater threw him the ball. However the pass was too slow and the defense was able to step up and would have made a play on the ball if Diggs hadn't jumped to high point the ball and make the catch. After the catch, Diggs was able to elude several defenders to add a few more yards to the play. The biggest play for both Bridgewater and Diggs was the game-tying touchdown with two minutes left in the game. On the play, Diggs ran a ten-yard route and used his body to block out the Bears defender, who then dove to try and make the tackle. Diggs slipped out of the way and then turned upfield, heading towards the corner of the end zone for the score. He eluded one more defender, then bowled a final one over. Despite overall shakiness, Bridgewater played pretty well down the stretch, including the last drive of the game where the Vikings won with a field goal. On the first pass he hit Diggs again, this time on a short in route. Diggs had to leave the game with a slight leg injury, but Bridgewater was able to turn to Johnson on a 35-yard reception to get the offense into field goal range. The throw was a bit high, but Johnson made a great effort to high-point the pass and come down with the catch. If Bridgewater had led Johnson a bit - either along the sideline or on a post (whatever the call might have been), Johnson would have scored a touchdown. Overall it was an up and down game, and Bridgewater needs to find a way to be a little more accurate on deeper passes, but he continues to improve in some area of his game each week.
2015 Week 9 vs LA (13 / 21 / 144 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / 17 / 1 rush)
Before getting into the overall minutia of how Bridgewater played, let's deal with the hit that took him out of the game. Rams coach Jeff Fisher and defensive coordinator Greg Williams like hard-hitting, aggressive defenses. They play hard and fast and just up to (and slightly past) the whistle. That's part of what happened. Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner said he didn't intend to hurt Bridgewater (per Vikings PR department, post game quotes): We were playing zone coverage and Teddy went for the scramble. I did not know he was going to slide; I thought he was going to give another move and it was a bang-bang play. My intent was never to hurt Teddy. We are from the same place. His mom is proud of him just like my mom is proud of me. I have love for him and his career, and I would never want to hurt anyone like that. It was just a bang-bang play and something that I wish I could have back. On the one hand, I believe he didn't want to hurt Bridgewater. On the other, he very clearly slows and changes direction so he can lay a hit on Bridgewater. That it ended up with the quarterback's head ramming the turf makes it worse and makes it look intentional and far more dirty than the intent was. Joyner was looking to put a lick on the quarterback, and he took the chance he'd get flagged as a part of the risk. It's hard to imagine he just happened to do so while Bridgewater was sliding and that he had no idea Bridgewater would slide though. He might not have meant for Bridgewater to end up concussed, but that was the end result and likely the reason he'll be getting a FedEx envelope this week for the hit. Bridgewater will go through concussion protocol this week, but Ian Rapoport's report that Bridgewater was feeling much better Monday morning is a positive sign. As for the game, it was another up and down affair for Bridgewater, but for most of the game he looked pretty good. He had some early missed opportunities, with some overthrown balls and passes that were a little off target. However, he quickly settled down and showed some impressive confidence with difficult throws, such as a first quarter completion to Jarius Wright. On the play, Wright was bracketed by James Laurinaitis and Joyner, and Bridgewater had to know the window for a pass was super-tight. He threw a rope to Wright anyway, showing trust not only that he could make the pass but that his receiver would make the play. Overall, Bridgewater has shown progress almost every week, although his biggest issue is sustained consistency. On one second quarter throw, Bridgewater had Mike Wallace wide open in the middle of the field but missed the throw. He also could have run the ball--Bridgewater himself was clear for a big gain. Late in the third quarter, he threw his one interception of the game, a deep ball meant for Stefon Diggs. Either Bridgewater through Diggs was breaking left on a post, rather than right on a corner route and threw it to where Diggs wasn't or Bridgewater just threw a bad ball. Diggs tried to bail his quarterback out, but only drew an offensive pass interference penalty and couldn't stop the ball from being intercepted anyway. Back on the positive side, Bridgewater showed good recognition (and some nice wheels) on his rushing touchdown. Bridgewater dropped back and clearly wanted to pass the ball, but when he saw the huge hole the line opened up for him, he wisely pulled the ball down and ran. Moments later, he took a bootleg to his right on a two-point conversion and when there was nobody open, kept running for the end zone, diving across for the score. In the end, it could be that Bridgewater's willingness--and ability--led to Joyner making sure he made it clear to the quarterback that if he ran, he would be hit. It makes it no less a bad hit and a dumb play, but could help us understand what possess a player to try and knock another out.
2015 Week 10 vs OAK (14 / 22 / 140 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 23 / 0 rush)
Bridgewater met a solid defense this week with a secondary which was able to contain his receivers, so as the game progressed he threw less and less. He had 22 total attempts, with just 14 attempts in the first half and with the lead, the Vikings opted to ride Adrian Peterson. Of course, another factor was the outstanding work by Oakland's secondary in containing Bridgewater's receivers and a horrid drop by Kyle Rudolph in the end zone which would have given Bridgewater a second touchdown. A week after his concussion, Bridgewater definitely seemed a little tentative running the ball, and his desire to try and do anything despite the coverage often had him holding the ball perhaps longer than he should have, though not to the extent he gets criticized for. As coach Mike Zimmer said (per Vikings PR Department) "We did want to throw the ball down the field, so we have some maximum protection things in, which you're going to hold the ball a little bit longer. You also have less receivers in the routes, so if they get covered there's less places to go and if the protection breaks down and looks worse than what it was, but I didn't feel (he was holding the ball too long)." Zimmer also said he felt there were about ten plays that could have gone horribly wrong, but that Bridgewater did a great job of making something out of nothing. He also didn't throw deep very often, something his critics will blame on his arm strength, but in reality was due to the aforementioned coverage combined with the continuing struggles of the offensive line. While he is still raw, Bridgewater continues to show the instincts to make some heads up football plays. In the middle of the third quarter, Bridgewater faced a 3rd and 13 at his own 11 yard line and dropped back to pass. However, the Oakland coverage unit did an excellent job shutting down the receivers as they did consistently all day. Seeing nobody open, Bridgewater scrambled to both buy some time and see if he could gain a little yardage to avoid being pinned below the five on fourth down. As he was trying to get outside the defenders and gain some yards he saw Matt Asiata running past and wisely flipped him the ball. Asiata had nothing but green space in front of him and scrambled for the first down. While Bridgewater can be inconsistent still and clearly has more work to do, he continues to show a high football IQ and an ability to think on his feet. At the end of the day, the Vikings are being careful with Bridgewater and trying to avoid putting him in bad situations. This limits his impact, both good and bad.
2015 Week 11 vs GB (25 / 37 / 296 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 43 / 0 rush)
It was a rough day for Teddy Bridgewater, whose offensive line was a mess on Sunday. His left tackle, Matt Kalil didn't practice all week and it showed with some bad plays and penalties. The last few weeks, offensive coordinator Norv Turner and head coach Mike Zimmer have run the ball a lot with Adrian Peterson to preserve their quarterback, but the Packers were able to bottle Peterson up behind the line of scrimmage and once the Packers took a 19-6 lead early in the third quarter. So Bridgewater had to throw and the Packers did a great job of covering his receivers, something which has been an issue the last few games. Bridgewater did throw a few beautiful passes to Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph, Rudolph's going 47-yards for a touchdown. On that play, Rudolph was on a deep corner route, and Bridgewater hit him with a pass that caught the tight end perfectly in stride about 20 yards into the route. Rudolph had nobody near him save for one defender, who couldn't catch up to him as he ran the rest of the way to the end zone. If there is one big problem with Bridgewater it's that he is holding the ball too long sometimes. That's clearly because his receivers are not open and he's hoping to make a play, but he needs to learn when enough is enough and throw the ball away. That said, he was battered all day behind an offensive line which allowed pressure on 29 plays according to Pro Football Focus' analysis, with only 18 drop-backs free from pressure. PFF also says the Packers blitzed just 17 times, but were able to create pressure anyway. He was sacked six times and "hurried" 22 times. There were plays where he dropped back and turned to find two or three Packers defenders right there so he was forced to scramble in any direction to buy enough time to throw the ball away. So while his desire to make plays and hold the ball to do so is admirable, he cannot afford to take sacks when he has a moment to get rid of the ball. That's something he is getting a crash course in this year.
2015 Week 12 vs ATL (20 / 28 / 174 / 0 / 1 pass, 4 / -3 / 0 rush)
It was a pretty good day overall for Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday, considering the fact that the team's plan continues to be "limit what we ask of Bridgewater" and "lean on the run game." Interestingly, while the run to pass ratio favored the run (35 called runs compared to 28 pass attempts), his total attempted passes was the second highest in the last for games. While they seem to want to limit his throwing, the last two games have shown that is no always possible as he has attempted 65 passes over that span. His passes were primarily short, with occasional longer attempts, but with some help from his receivers and some yards after the catch, his average yards per pass was 8.7 which is respectable (and well above his 7.1 yards per pass for the season). He also completed 71 percent of his passes on the day, though he again rarely went deep and made one sizable mistake in the red zone with his early second quarter pick. On the play, Kyle Rudolph ran a tight end seam, but free safety Ricardo Allen moved over to cover him. Bridgewater appeared to try and look off Allen, but the safety didn't bite. When that didn't work out, Bridgewater has several choices, including throwing to another receiver (none were open yet), throwing with a higher arc to get over Allen or throwing a risky pass and hoping to sneak it by the safety. Bridgewater chose the last one but didn't pure nearly enough force behind the pass, which was slow enough for an easy interception. Overall, Bridgewater played fine in what is a limited and constrained role. He's passing more than we think, but the plays and routes that are called will keep a lid on what he can do.
2015 Week 13 vs SEA (17 / 28 / 118 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Things did not go well for Teddy Bridgewater and the passing offense of the Minnesota Vikings. Much is made of how bad the offensive line is and ESPN's Ben Goessling tweeted that ESPN Stats & Info reported the Seahawks blitzed only 6.1 percent of the time but pressured him 39.4 percent of the time, meaning they could rush four and score hits on the quarterback. According to Pro Football Focus, Bridgewater is being pressured on 47.4 percent of his dropbacks this season and lead the league in that category. The Vikings also lead the league in 7-step drops. This is a terrible combination --you can't have that and succeed through the air or on the ground. What's baffling is offensive coordinator Norv Turner's refusal to try and use quick, short passes to mitigate the pressure on his young quarterback. Instead, Turner's solution appears to be to run Adrian Peterson into the ground which is fine when it works, which it didn't against a stout Seattle run defense. With no run game and little help from the offensive line, how does Bridgewater complete passes? The solution, one would think, would be to take a page out of the Green Bay Packers playbook and use a lot of short passes, quick slants and moving screens. The Vikings do not do this though, continuing to force Bridgewater into 7-step drops which required time he didn't have to set up and putting him under center, when he is more comfortable and effective from the pistol or shotgun. Right now, this offense is geared around Adrian Peterson, which is fine when it works but when it doesn't, the offense is not set for success. When Peterson is stymied, it becomes about big plays. "Our system that we're running here, it allows us to make big plays," Bridgewater said after the game per the Vikings PR release and game notes. But teams know that this is a big play offense, so they try to take away those deep threats down the field and make us complete the ball underneath the coverage and things like that." You can't be a big play, deep threat team when you have no offensive line and the receivers struggle to gain separation. That leaves a situation for Bridgewater where he has to make lemonade out of bricks. Right now he is hamstrung by an offense he has to adapt to, rather than having it adapt to him, which means it is tough to know how good he really is. The focus on Peterson and the deep threat bleeds over into something even as simple as formation. Peterson cannot take a handoff from the shotgun so if Peterson is on the field, Bridgewater is under center. When Bridgewater is in shotgun, Jerrick McKinnon was often on the field, which tipped off the Seahawks that the play was a pass. Until the team starts using short, quick passes to stymie defenses who have little to prevent them from blowing through the offensive line, Bridgewater is going to struggle and his development will stagnate.
2015 Week 14 vs ARI (25 / 36 / 335 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
The best place to start with Teddy Bridgewater's performance is probably the last thing he did in that performance. On the final play of the game, Bridgewater was strip sacked on the Arizona 36 yard line on a slow developing play that ran contrary to almost everything the Vikings had done offensively earlier. This time, offensive coordinator Norv Turner called a slow developing play involving several drag routes which would have made it hard for the offense to make it out of bounds. With just 13 seconds left and no time outs, the team couldn't afford to have a receiver brought down in the field of play, so Bridgewater was told not to turn the ball over. He was also told not to take a sack, but as he waited for the play to develop, Dwight Freeney blew up left tackle Matt Kalil with a spin move and took down the quarterback, knocking the ball away as he did. The Vikings had run a solid game plan for just over three quarters, finally having Bridgewater throw short routes on quick plays, something which seemed to baffle the Cardinals defense. The receivers continued to struggle any time the play called for a deeper route though, and the tough Cardinals secondary just didn't give an inch. Still, for the majority of the game the Vikings hung in there with short passes. That changed in the last couple of drives, after the start of the fourth quarter. While they still threw short, the team mixed in more and more long shots to little effect since the coverage was good and the receivers couldn't gain any separation. They settled back into the short-yardage offense leading to Mike Wallace's 7-yard touchdown with 4:55 left to play in the game. That play had Wallace running a shallow crossing route from the right side of the field to the left, with Stefon Diggs running the same route in the opposite direction. The Vikings formation had the strength to the right, and the Cardinals rushed seven players which left just their four players in the secondary. Both safeties rotated to their left (the Vikings' right side) with one corner pursuing Diggs on his route. The second corner was too slow picking up Wallace, and Bridgewater hit the receiver for an easy touchdown. During the last drive, Turner changed things up though. Mixing in longer (and slower) developing routes caused a sack, caused Bridgewater to check down more than once and threw off the rhythm the offense had developed. The good news is, the short and quick passing game is viable with Bridgewater and this offense. The bad news is we know Turner still loves deep routes that his receivers are unable to break free on.
2015 Week 15 vs CHI (17 / 20 / 231 / 4 / 0 pass, 4 / 17 / 1 rush)
Everything seemed to go right for Bridgewater on Sunday. His line gave him good protection, his backs moved the ball and his receivers gained some separation. His offensive coordinator--Norv Turner--also seemed to have more confidence in him, allowing him to throw different and longer passes. The result was a multi-touchdown game where Bridgewater had a career high rating of 154.4 and easily handled pressure with poise. His first touchdown--a 15-yard dime to Stefon Diggs--was one of the best passes of his young career. Diggs ran to the back corner of the end zone, where Bridgewater dropped a dime over the defender's head and into the bucket. Diggs just had to reach out and grab it for six points. His second touchdown pass was a short dump pass to Jerrick McKinnon in space. The back turned upfield and slipped through some defenders for a score. Next, he hit Diggs again, this time on an underneath crossing route. The Bears linebacker was too slow reacting to Diggs and when the receiver caught the ball, he had room to run. Diggs then dodged one tackler and dragged another one for the score. Bridgewater's third touchdown pass was on a bootleg late in the fourth quarter. Matt Asiata mirrored Bridgewater's bootleg and when defenders crashed towards the quarterback, he threw a short pass to his back, who dove for the end zone and the score. He also did a nice job on his rushing touchdown, as he saw an opportunity to advance the ball when his receivers were shut down and then made a nice jump to get into the end zone. Overall, Bridgewater had a tremendous game, showing accuracy, calm and plenty of arm strength to pick apart the Bears defense.
2015 Week 16 vs NYG (15 / 25 / 168 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 12 / 0 rush)
While he didn't have huge numbers, Teddy Bridgewater continued to play good football with short, efficient passes punctuated by a few excellent longer passes where the ball came out like it was on a zip line. Bridgewater also showed off his elusiveness, scrambling at the end of the third quarter for a first down. Maybe some of it was the awful Giants defense, which seemed unable to tackle or cover anyone, but even under pressure Bridgewater looked solid. The first bullet-like pass was a 28-yard strike to tight end Kyle Rudolph early on in the second quarter. Rudolph ran a seam route and got a step on the defender. Bridgewater threw a perfect pass away from the defender and hit Rudolph in stride as he crossed the goal line. "It was just a nice matchup that we liked," Bridgewater said postgame, per the Vikings PR department. "Kyle (Rudolph) is a big target and we wanted to take advantage of that matchup and Kyle did exactly that. He set the guy up on the route and gave me a throwing lane and we just played pitch-and-catch." Bridgewater also did a good job with the hard count, drawing the Giants offsides. At the end of the day, this will continue to be mostly a run-first offense and as long as Adrian Peterson is the focal point of that, there will be a limit to how much Bridgewater can do and will be allowed to do.
2015 Week 17 vs GB (10 / 19 / 99 / 0 / 1 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Things didn't get off on the right foot for Bridgewater Sunday night as he missed a wide open Jerrick McKinnon down the sideline and overthrew him by almost five yards. Three throws later, Bridgewater missed MyCole Pruitt in the end zone by just a little bit. You can't miss those throws, especially as the Vikings enter the playoffs. We know he can make the throws, as right after the miss on Pruitt he threw a dime to Jarius Wright but the receiver was way too casual and went out of bounds before completing a catch he should have had. Bridgewater also makes some daffy decisions, such as his left-handed toss while being sacked. He was trying to get rid of the ball (that's good) but threw with his off-hand and right into the hands of Micah Hyde (bad). While Hyde made a back-handed, one handed throw Bridgewater never should have thrown the ball. So it seems there continues to be good reason why they aren't opening up the playbook, though where the Packers erred in putting their quarterback in the position of throwing 44 passes, the Vikings have the opposite issue. 19 passes is too few and at some point they will need Bridgewater to throw the ball and perhaps win a game. Limiting him makes sense given his current issues. Shutting him down does not.
2014 Week 3 vs NO (12 / 20 / 150 / 0 / 0 pass, 6 / 27 / 0 rush)
For a guy who came into the game having had minimal snaps with the starting unit, missing his best offensive weapon and down by ten points against a potent New Orleans Saints team, rookie Teddy Bridgewater did pretty well. He remained cool and poised, delivered the ball efficiently and most importantly, minimized his mistakes, protecting the ball at all costs. Bridgewater immediately came in and stood in the pocket under duress, completing his first pass to Greg Jennings, then hitting Matt Asiata on a dump pass, which the running back took for a 41-yard gain. On that play he did a great job of looking right and then turning to throw left, not tipping the defense with his eyes while he scanned for a downfield opportunity. A couple of plays later, Bridgewater ran for 9 yards on a quarterback keeper where he once again did a good job selling pass in one direction before going in a different direction. That's something that Matt Cassel wasn't able to do, and a specific call for a guy like Bridgewater who, while not a "running quarterback" has plenty of mobility. Bridgewater ran that keeper play a few times for big gains and showed a lot of escapability on his last snap of the game when he avoided multiple sacks as he tried to buy time for people to get open, to no avail. It wasn't all smooth sailing as later in the quarter, Bridgewater was tripped up by his own left tackle (Matt Kalil, who is struggling early this season) and sacked for a loss in the end zone. He was a little off on several short passes as well, though a week with the starters might solve that problem. Still he hung in the pocket, avoided throwing the ball when nobody was open and stretched plays with his feet when needed. While he didn't go downfield often, the passes he threw on the occasions he did looked good. One, on a 30-yard completion to a wide open Jennings was a rocket that took advantage of blown coverage while on a second throw to Jennings which fell incomplete floated a little but showed plenty of arm strength. Probably the best play Bridgewater made all day was on a 3rd and 1 with a short pass to Cordarrelle Patterson. On the play, New Orleans sent everyone on a blitz and Bridgewater was under heavy pressure. Bridgewater dropped back and immediately spotted Patterson dragging across the middle of the field right at the first down marker and with a ton of separation on the defender. He does a good job getting the ball to his receiver in stride, allowing him to catch the ball without stopping. While he didn't blow anyone's doors off, Bridgewater did a very good job in his first regular season NFL game.
2014 Week 4 vs ATL (19 / 30 / 317 / 0 / 0 pass, 5 / 27 / 1 rush)
The Vikings knew that, while they liked what they had seen in Teddy Bridgewater's first game, he was still a young quarterback. So they kept the gameplan simple and didn't ask him to carry the water for the whole team. Throughout the game--and especially early on--offensive coordinator Norv Turner called short plays designed to get the ball out of his hands quickly. That's not to say he didn't throw some absolute darts early, including a perfect pass to Greg Jennings late in the first quarter. On the play, Jennings ran about ten yards straight out from the line of scrimmage, pushing past defensive end Kroy Biermann. Bridgewater delivered the ball with a hard throw away from the defender which enabled Jennings to catch the ball at full speed and gain additional yards. The rookie began the game with seven straight completions before a dropped pass and an excellent play to prevent a completion to tight end Chase Ford. Bridgewater showed a great ability to sell playaction, such as on a second quarter completion to a wide open Rhett Ellison. Ellison was open in part because the defensive front bought into the fake completely. While Bridgewater didn't throw any touchdowns, he did scramble for one in the late second quarter. On the play, Bridgewater dropped back and scanned the field but couldn't find an open man. Rather than forcing the throw and under pressure, he pulled the ball down and fled the pocket. Bridgewater turned the corner, and seeing nothing but open field between himself and the goal line, ran for the end zone. While one Atlanta Falcon got between him and the touchdown, the defender missed the tackle and Bridgewater dove into the end zone. Overall, Bridgewater looked very sharp, made strong decisions and spread the ball around. Some wondered why Cordarrelle Patterson wasn't terribly involved, but as Judd Zulgad of ESPN 1500 in Minnesota wrote, that just shows he was willing to go wherever the receivers were open and not force things. That means he can be effective no matter who the defense tries to shut down. Bridgewater left the game in the late fourth quarter with an ankle injury, but X-Rays and an MRI came back negative, but the short week makes the game against the Green Bay Packers an unknown proposition.
2014 Week 6 vs DET (23 / 37 / 188 / 0 / 3 pass, 3 / 11 / 0 rush)
It was a lost game for Bridgewater and the Minnesota offense against Detroit this week. When Bridgewater was not harassed in the pocket, he commonly held the ball long enough to create his own pressure and affect the timing of his throws. The offensive line struggled mightily against the havoc-wreaking Detroit defensive line, especially on obvious passing downs. As a whole, Bridgewater seemed reluctant to scramble from pressure, instead being susceptible to field position-killing sacks, poor decisions, and the occasional fumble. Bridgewater's first interception took points off the board in the red zone. Ending a successful drive, Bridgewater targeted Cordarrelle Patterson double-covered on a deep post. The safety was all over the pass for the easy interception as Minnesota was poised to take the early lead. Late in the first half, a pass bounced off Matt Asiata's hands over the middle for a second interception. Another tipped pass was intercepted in the third quarter as Minnesota struggled to get anything going on offense. A fourth interception was possible on a tipped pass to Cordarrelle Patterson late in the game. Bridgewater, who was careful with the ball against the Atlanta and New Orleans (zero turnovers), gave the ball away three times this week. Eight sacks were a combination of lagging pocket presence, the dominance of the Detroit offensive line, and the inability of Minnesota's receivers to create early separation.
2014 Week 7 vs BUF (15 / 26 / 157 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 7 / 0 rush)
While you can't excuse all of rookie Teddy Bridgewater's decisions because of it, a large portion of his day was the result of awful line play. Sacked five times, Bridgewater was pressured or blitzed 21 times (per Pro Football Focus) and the offensive line only had two out of five players graded positively. Now offensive line grading is always subjective and Bridgewater made more than a few mistakes. His first interception was one part Bridgewater's fault, one part lucky play by the defense. On the play, which took place in the second quarter, tight end Chase Ford ran a "drag" route across the middle but got caught up with Buffalo's Brandon Spikes, who slowed him down and then followed the tight end. Bridgewater had to scramble and waited just a fraction too long to throw the ball. Ford turned to catch it and Spikes blindly threw his arm out, deflecting the ball up and to another defender. A better throw, a quicker decision or a better route and maybe it's a completion, but ultimately Bridgewater tried to force something. The second interception was a much worse one, as Bridgewater appeared to stare down his intended receiver almost the entire play. Bridgewater was back in his own end but had plenty of time to throw the ball. Bills defensive back Leodin McKelvin (who picked Bridgewater off both times) clearly read where the ball was going and was in perfect position. Bridgewater might have had a better chance had he thrown closer to the sideline but he underthrew it and McKelvin caught the ball in stride. The Bills immediately turned the interception into a touchdown. On the positive side, Bridgewater came right back with a touchdown drive of his own, capped by a short touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson. Overall, Bridgewater is still developing and needs to learn to read the field a bit better and look off his receivers. While it would help if the offensive line was more consistent, Bridgewater himself needs to be more consistent as well and until that happens, he will still struggle.
2014 Week 8 vs TB (24 / 42 / 241 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
After back-to-back multipack games, rookie Teddy Bridgewater protected the ball and had a solid, if not exciting, day. His biggest issue right now is accuracy--the longer the throw, the more off-target the ball seems to be. Several of his more off-target passes were on high and on passes over ten yards, which is absolutely something that can--and should--be improved. On the whole, the offense is very conservative right now and part of that is Bridgewater checking down, but some of it is offensive coordinator Norv Turner trying to protect his quarterback and putting him in situations which are favorable. Considering those recent interception-fests it makes sense to throttle back a bit and continue the slow rebuild. Overall, Bridgewater showed good patience, and decent velocity and touch on the shorter passes. His best throw was the touchdown strike to Greg Jennings. On the play, Bridgewater dropped back as Jennings ran a long route towards the back corner of the end zone. The receiver got some separation (one of the few times he did) and Bridgewater threw a beautiful pass, dropping it right into Jennings' arms in the end zone. His worst throw was a forced deep ball which he put too much air under and didn't get enough force on, which receiver Charles Johnson had to break up an interception on. Overall, Bridgewater looked better than he has in a few weeks, but he is still a work in progress.
2014 Week 9 vs WAS (26 / 42 / 268 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 20 / 0 rush)
Two weeks in a row, Teddy Bridgewater has avoided throwing turnovers, though there are still signs of growing pains. It wasn't for lack of trying though and late in the second quarter, Bridgewater overthrew Cordarrelle Patterson along the sideline and a Washington defender nearly picked it off, but the ball was ruled incomplete. The play was challenged and seemed like it should have been ruled an interception. So Bridgewater definitely dodged a bullet there. Right now, Bridgewater remains a guy who the team isn't asking a ton of, slowly improving and taking on a little more each week. That said, Sunday it appeared he was rushing his throws early and as a result, some of the passes were much higher than he needed them to be. He had one brutal miss on a pass to Cordarrelle Patterson, where his receiver was wide open and he missed by three or four yards. Bridgewater was not under pressure and it should have been an easy touchdown for the offense. Those are throws he has to make--when the coverage breaks down and a receiver breaks free. He did the same thing to Greg Jennings in the first, where Jennings was three steps ahead of the coverage and Bridgewater just flat out missed hum. Missing those can cost you the game. Bridgewater continues to look far more comfortable on shorter passes, despite the fact that the offensive line has been giving him more time. The second half of this season, we need to see him start building more chemistry with his receivers, especially on intermediate and deep routes. He has the weapons, now he has to show the skills. He did throw a very nice pass on his 20-yard touchdown to Chase Ford. On the play, Bridgewater dropped back and was very patient, waiting for Ford to slip past coverage, which he did. Bridgewater then delivered a perfect ball into the end zone for the score.
2014 Week 11 vs CHI (18 / 28 / 158 / 1 / 1 pass, 4 / 2 / 0 rush)
The Minnesota Vikings continue to have issues at the edges of their offensive line, and that makes life a lot harder for rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Under constant pressure early, in the snow, Bridgewater had no time to wait for his receivers to get open deep and had to check down constantly. On the plus side, his decision-making has improved, as shown during the first drive of the game for the Vikings offense. On the play, a 3rd and 13 play in Chicago's end of the field, Bridgewater dropped back and had time but his receivers could not get open. Rather than force the ball and potentially turn it over, Bridgewater checked down to Jerrick McKinnon for a shorter gain, but put his team in field goal range. The conditions and the surprisingly effective pass rush forced Bridgewater to check down a lot. The Vikings had some success rolling him out, such as on his touchdown throw to tight end Rhett Ellison late in the first quarter. On the play, a 1st and goal at the 7 yard line, Bridgewater faked a handoff to Jerrick McKinnon and bootlegged to his right. Ellison was set up as a fullback to Bridgewater's right, faked moving to the left, then ran out into the flat along the right side where he was wide open. Bridgewater saw him and delivered the pass for an easy touchdown. While he appeared to check down often, it is hard to know how his receivers were doing without access to All 22. When that tape arrives, we might have more of a reasonable idea of whether he could have tried stretching the field more. Bridgewater was picked off once, though with only second remaining, on a Hail Mary pass. He did miss the deep safety and should have thrown the ball away, instead tossing the ball into coverage where it was picked off.
2014 Week 12 vs GB (21 / 37 / 210 / 2 / 1 pass, 5 / 32 / 0 rush)
Bridgewater looked a little bit off early in this game, missing several open receivers including a wide-open Charles Johnson early in the first quarter. On the play, Tramon Williams chased the "Z" receiver deep, while Johnson cut underneath and was wide open. Bridgewater was under pressure, but did an admirable job taking the hit to deliver the ball, but the pass was terribly off and shouldn't have been. Bridgewater also took an early intentional grounding penalty because his toss-away pass didn't reach the line of scrimmage. On that play, there was a jail break along the offensive line and multiple Packers were attacking him before he could react. That was a problem Sunday, as it has been all year--the offensive line continues to be terrible on far too many plays and the only player Pro Football Focus gave a positive grade to was center Johns Sullivan. The guards were especially bad and the Packers blitzed or rushed the "A" gap multiple times, hurrying or hitting Bridgewater far too often. As bad as the offensive line continues to play though, the story was Bridgewater's inaccuracy in the first half. Too many of his throws were off-target, like the pass to Johnson, and that consistently killed drives the Vikings needed to sustain. When he was on point, his receivers dropped several very catchable balls. Despite all this, Minnesota was only trailing by 7 in the middle of the second quarter when Bridgewater and Johnson hooked up for a 22-yard touchdown. It was a pretty easy "pitch and catch" play, with Johnson getting behind the coverage and Bridegwater having an easy throw to make for the score. Unfortunately, Bridgewater followed it up shortly with one of his worst passes to date, which was intercepted. On the play, Bridgewater doesn't have his feet set and doesn't step into his throw. He was under no intense pressure and yet threw it as if he had to hurry, didn't get anything on it and as a result threw a duck which was intercepted. During the second half, Bridgewater had settled down, though he was also throwing a lot of short and intermediate passes. This helped deal with the poor blocking on the offensive line, and limited the potential mistakes the quarterback could make. It allowed the Vikings to stay in the game though, and got Bridgewater to the Packers end of the field where he threw his second touchdown of the day. On the play, Greg Jennings ran a drag across the field and the Packers never covered him, which gave Bridgewater a wide open target for a touchdown. They then ran the same route to convert the two-point conversion and close to within a field goal. Unfortunately, the Vikings defense couldn't hold the Packers offense and Green Bay ran out the clock before Bridgewater got a chance to try and tie or win the game.
2014 Week 13 vs CAR (15 / 21 / 138 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 12 / 0 rush)
Rookie Teddy Bridgewater had a solid day, but since two blocked punts were returned for touchdowns by special teams, his day was pretty simple and really centered around "don't make mistakes." That's something he was able to accomplish, especially since the Vikings only asked him to throw the ball 21 times. Most of his tosses were short or intermediate in nature, especially once the team got a significant lead. Bridgewater did contribute to the cause twice, once with a 4-yard touchdown throw to Kyle Rudolph as the tight end ran a drag route. The Carolina Panthers never saw him get free and Bridgewater had an easy throw. The second throw was a short pass to Greg Jennings which Jennings caught while wide open. He made a defender miss, then ran through a tackle on the way to the end zone. Overall, Bridgewater was asked to do a lot of shorter passes at a quick pace, which helped keep the Carolina front seven from taking advantage of what has been a very shaky offensive line. It played to Bridgewater's strengths as he could make a quick read while scanning the field and make his decision.
2014 Week 14 vs NYJ (19 / 27 / 309 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 7 / 0 rush)
While Bridgewater had a very good game overall, it's hard to really know exactly how to grade him against an absolutely horrible Jets defense. That said, his first touchdown was a beautiful deep pass to an absolutely wide open Charles Johnson, who was running a "go" route down the sideline. On the play, Johnson did a 'stop-and-start' move on cornerback Darrin Walls. Bridgewater had a wide open target and delivered a very pretty pass right into Johnson's arms without making his receiver break stride. Johnson should have had another touchdown, but fumbled the ball as he was about to cross the goal line, where it was picked up by fullback Jerome Felton. The play was, once again, the result of bad coverage as Johnson embarrasses rookie Marcus Williams on his route, stopping short as Williams flies across the field. It's just an easy pitch and catch for Bridgewater. It didn't count for Bridgewater's total, but it got the job done for the Vikings. The game winning touchdown was more a combination of poor defense and Jarius Wright's speed than Bridgewater's ability. All Bridgewater did was throw a screen pass on a 3rd and 5. Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett stepped up to make the tackle and missed, Wright got to the second level and there was no catching him. Even Bridgewater's interception told us nothing, as it was a last second heave towards the end zone at the end of the half. That's always a 50/50 toss up. The offensive line played better, allowing just three sacks and three quarterback hits, but again, with the Jets defense a mess, that doesn't carry much weight. What we can say is this--Bridgewater continues to make good progress in his decisions, is doing a pretty good job protecting the ball and while the Vikings aren't putting the weight of the whole offense on him, he is executing what he is asked to. An offseason in this offense and a preseason to prepare and it looks like Bridgewater should be well positioned for a good 2015.
2014 Week 15 vs DET (31 / 41 / 315 / 1 / 2 pass, 3 / 30 / 0 rush)
There are moments when Teddy Bridgewater looks every bit a rookie quarterback, and then there are moments like the one at 11:40 in the first quarter. Under massive pressure, Bridgewater was forced out of the pocket. He could have tried to run the ball, or he could have tried to force a throw across the middle of the field where he might have had a player free. Instead he saw that he had running back Matt Asiata in front of him and a whole lot of green in front of Asiata. He quickly flipped the ball to his running back, who not only got back to the line of scrimmage, but gained four more yards as well. It wasn't all sunshine and kittens though, as Bridgewater's two picks were pretty bad. In fairness, it's hard to know how much of the floating interception to Glover Quin in the second quarter was his intended target stumbling and how much was the poor throw. Clearly, Bridgewater expected Charles Johnson to be ready for the ball, but he stumbled. Whether he could have made a play on the pass is hard to say. The second one was a flat-out poor pass. On the play, Greg Jennings ran his route, then cut back and towards the sideline. Bridgewater threw the ball behind Jennings--to where he was when he made the cut, not where he ended up after the cut. The replay official challenged that it had dropped, but Darius Slay had made a clean catch and the call on the field stood. Bridgewater did throw a nice pass with good touch to Greg Jennings for a touchdown. On the play, Jennings lined up on the left side of the formation, in the slot position. At the snap, he ran behind the line of scrimmage to the right side of the field, turned and caught a nice pass from Bridgewater. The Vikings didn't ask Bridgewater to throw longer than an intermediate route more than once the whole game--whether that was by design or Bridgewater checking the ball down is hard to say, but it was definitely a conservative gameplan to try and limit Bridgewater's exposure to turnovers. That wasn't as effective as they might have hoped, but their concern over his long-ball accuracy right now is definitely impacting what they are willing to do with him.
2014 Week 16 vs MIA (19 / 26 / 259 / 2 / 1 pass, 5 / 13 / 0 rush)
Each game we see a little more from Teddy Bridgewater that risks the bulk of draft twitter ending up seriously injured while patting themselves on the back. Bridgewater did everything we though he was capable of against the Miami Dolphins and even the interception wasn't his fault, as it went off running back Matt Asiata's hands. Bridgewater made some very nice throws, drove the Vikings down the field with a five-play, 60 yard drive in less than two minutes and generally did everything but execute the fatal blocked punt which lost the game so that the punter wouldn't have to. It wasn't perfect. Bridgewater still has moments of inaccuracy and will miss a wide open receiver because he is checking down. However, these blips are becoming fewer and fewer as he polishes out his game. He threw a very nice pass to Greg Jennings for a touchdown, with the receiver running a corner route and Bridgewater dropping the ball perfectly into Jennings' hands. He was well over 50 percent again this week in completions, extended the play with his feet and played one of his better games.
2014 Week 17 vs CHI (17 / 25 / 209 / 1 / 1 pass, 6 / 18 / 0 rush)
It has been an impressive progression this season for Teddy Bridgewater, and Sunday's win over the Chicago Bears was a nice cap to the season. That's not to say Bridgewater played mistake-free football. He was picked off once and should have been intercepted by Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen in the first quarter when the former Viking shed a block and reached up to grab at a ball Bridgewater was throwing into the flat. The interception came on a pass which was slightly behind Cordarrelle Patterson in the third quarter. Bridgewater appeared to throw behind Patterson because a Bears safety was coming down to block off the route and there was a good chance he could have made a play on the ball anyway. The pass went through Patterson's hands and right into cornerback Kyle Fuller's arms. Overall though, he made smart passes, delivered the ball crisply and efficiently and when a receiver was open--as Adam Thielen was on his 44-yard touchdown--he hit him in stride. There were a few passes where the mechanics of his delivery was off and his arm-motion almost seemed sidearm. It wasn't there for the whole game, but it was an odd hitch which jumped out early in the game. That being said, Bridgewater played very well in the season finale and looks poised to be a very good quarterback for some time in the NFL.