If Teddy Bridgewater makes six or seven tough throws in the clutch to his outstanding group of receivers, the Vikings have a chance to upset the Seahawks.
There have been quarterbacking performances for the Vikings in Lambeau Field in this century that were so hapless as to become part of Purple lore.
T.E. Bridgewater II was not as inept as some of those in the Vikings’ 20-13 victory on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. But he was close.
Two Gloves Teddy went 10 for 18 right-handed for 99 yards, and 0 for 1 with an interception left-handed, for an overall rating of 45.7.
Even with the victory and the NFC North title, this was disturbing for Vikings loyalists, who are desperate to have everyone buy into the idea that Bridgewater is on the way to being an exceptional quarterback.
Most Read Sports Stories
- John Stockton’s defiance of COVID-19 mask mandate forces Gonzaga to suspend Hall of Famer’s season tickets
- Pittsburgh LB and team captain Cam Bright announces graduate transfer to UW Huskies
- Superstar Breanna Stewart leaving Seattle in free agency would send the Storm back to mediocrity
- Mariners mailbag: What could M's get for Taylor Trammell, Luis Torrens or Jake Fraley in a trade?
- New Mexico running back Aaron Dumas announces transfer to UW Huskies
Most of the people with whom I was interacting on Twitter and elsewhere were not able to accept the idea their guy Teddy was terrible on this night and to move on.
They were looking for excuses, as has been the case during and after the half-dozen clunkers that Bridgewater has offered up in his second season.
It was popular to blame offensive coordinator Norv Turner for not calling the plays “that had worked’’ for Bridgewater in the previous three weeks. And, as always, it was popular to blame the offensive line for not giving Bridgewater those four or five seconds that in some games it takes him to make up his mind when Option A is covered.
This young man is limited. Most weeks, the TV analysts have gone out of their way to praise Bridgewater and to offer excuses when necessary. They also have started to point out the low delivery point in his throwing motion. With a better motion, the lack of arm strength that’s mentioned with Bridgewater could be less of an issue.
As an athlete, I’d call him “high average’’ — good enough but far from exceptional.
If I was one of you folks with an emotional investment in the Vikings, what would drive me nuts about Two Gloves Teddy is the number of times that he starts backtracking to his right with only one idea:
To throw the ball past the yard marker and avoid a sack.
When you see a big-time quarterback, such as Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers (before the last 60 percent of this season), rolling away from pressure, they are looking to make a play and throw it away when all options are expired. Bridgewater just wants to get rid of it and avoid the sack too often for my taste.
The greatest myth with Bridgewater is that the lone reason he slipped in the draft was because of a “bad workout day’’ at Louisville — and the crafty Vikings went in and evaluated him again (with gloves on, apparently) and saw the “real’’ Teddy.
Nonsense. Bridgewater fell to the bottom third of the first round in the 2014 draft because of his questionable throwing motion, his limited arm strength and his average athletic ability … not because he made a bunch of bad throws on his workout day.
If you’re honest — and hardcore fans who want to have visions of Super Bowls in the future have a tendency not to be — you will admit that Bridgewater has not played as well in this second season as anticipated.
He had 12 starts as a rookie in 2014, several of them in the football version of “garbage time’’ (December games in a lost season), with a gaudy completion percentage. The Purple face-painters looked at this as reality.
No. It was like Zach LaVine getting 18 in the fourth quarter of a blowout.
The reality is that Bridgewater has been OK this season: some good, some bad, and then real ugly on Sunday at Lambeau.
If Bridgewater plays like he did in Arizona’s dome last month in Sunday’s bitter cold at TCF Bank Stadium, if he makes six or seven tough throws in the clutch to his outstanding group of receivers, the Vikings have a chance to upset the Seahawks.
If Bridgewater goes the entire game without making an above-average play, as was the case against the Packers, even the Vikings’ terrific defense won’t be able to bail him out.
For more Vikings coverage from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, go to startribune.com/vikings.