Every now and then we get someone that wants to give this ol’ blogging thing a try.  Of course, we are happy for the added content and often hope the author succeeds as a Vikings writer, either here or elsewhere.  This is another post, of which I am particularly impressed with, so I hope you will all give Seth Forst’s first article here at VT and give him some supportive comments.

THEODORE EDMUND BRIDGEWATER II: By The Numbers

Author:  Seth Forst

One year ago, at this time, Teddy Bridgewater had just turned 21 years old. He was enrolled for his junior year at the University of Louisville, beginning preparation to play the University of Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl.  Between then and now, Teddy has been up, down, and in-between.

From fans calling for their team to “Tank for Teddy” to the debacle that was his Louisville Pro Day, his perceived draft stock fluctuated in a volatile way. Fast forward to the afternoon of September 28th – Viking fans at TCF Bank Stadium loudly expressed their satisfaction with the play of Bridgewater (TEDDDDY, TEDDDDY, TEDDDDY), as he led the Vikings to a victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Then came the inevitable rookie struggles perhaps summed up by his performance in Chicago on November 16th, when Bridgewater finished the game 18/28 for 158 yards (5.6 YPA), 1 TD, and 1 INT. That’s a passer rating of 76.2 and a QBR of 21.3, for those keeping track at home.

Since the Bears game, however, the general consensus has been that Bridgewater is improving, and things are once again looking up (TEDDDDY, TEDDDDY, TEDDDDY).

Is perception reality? Let’s take a look at the passing numbers, and see what they tell us. I included his total ‘yards in air’, passing yards before any yards after catch, as a reference to how much he’s pushing the ball down the field. This can also shed light on completion percentage, given shorter passes are more likely to be completed than deep throws.

NOTE:  All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Focus Premium (subscription required)

Week 3 @ New Orleans: 12/20 (60%), 150 yards (7.5 YPA), 60 ‘yards in air’ (40% of total), 0 TD, 0 INT

Week 4 vs. Atlanta: 19/30 (63.3%), 317 yards (10.57 YPA), 120 ‘yards in air’ (37.9% of total), 0 TD, 0 INT

Week 6 vs. Detroit: 23/37 (62.2%), 188 yards (5.08 YPA), 61 ‘yards in air’ (32.4% of total), 0 TD, 3 INT

Week 7 @ Buffalo: 15/26 (57.7%), 157 yards (6.04 YPA), 94 ‘yards in air’ (59.9% of total), 1 TD, 2 INT

Week 8 @ Tampa Bay: 24/42 (57.1%), 241 yards (5.74 YPA), 164 ‘yards in air’ (68% of total), 1 TD, 0 INT

Week 9 vs. Washington: 26/42 (61.9%), 268 yards (6.38 YPA), 175 ‘yards in air’ (65.3% of total), 1 TD

Week 11 @ Chicago: 18/28 (64.3%), 158 yards (5.64 YPA), 78 ‘yards in air’ (49.4% of total), 1 TD, 1 INT

Week 12 vs. Green Bay: 21/37 (56.8%), 210 yards (5.68 YPA), 117 ‘yards in air’ (55.7% of total), 2 TD, 1 INT

Week 13 vs. Carolina: 15/21 (71.4%), 138 yards (6.57 YPA), 69 ‘yards in air’ (50% of total), 2 TD, 0 INT

Week 14 vs. New York: 19/27 (70.4%), 310 yards (11.48 YPA), 137 ‘yards in air’ (43.9% of total), 2 TD, 1 INT

 

Two Game Blocks

Weeks 3+4: 31/50 (62%), 467 yards (9.34 YPA), 180 ‘yards in air’ (38.5% of total), 0 TD, 0 INT

Weeks 6+7: 38/63 (60.3%), 345 yards (5.48 YPA), 155 ‘yards in air’ (44.9% of total), 1 TD, 5 INT

Weeks 8+9: 50/84 (59.5%), 509 yards (6.06 YPA), 339 ‘yards in air’ (66.6% of total), 2 TD, 0 INT

Weeks 11+12: 39/65 (60%), 368 yards (5.66 YPA), 195 ‘yards in air’ (53% of total), 3 TD, 2 INT

Weeks 13+14: 34/48 (70.8%), 448 yards (9.33 YPA), 205 ‘yards in air’ (45.8% of total), 4 TD, 1 INT

 

Obviously the last two games have been, statistically, Teddy’s best stretch of the season. During the last two games, he has completed 70.8% of his passes, by far the best completion percentage of any two game block this year. I would note, he scaled back the depth of his throws during this span, as compared to the 3rd and 4th blocks, but is still throwing the ball further in the air than his first four games, which has to be seen as a major sign of improvement, when looked at in context with his vastly improved completion percentage.

Furthermore, he’s thrown four touchdowns the last two games, and the only interception was on a Hail Mary attempt before halftime of the Jets game. Finally, Teddy’s yards per attempt over the last two games are just a tick below what it was in his first two games, the highest of any of the two game blocks.

All in all, it certainly seems he has improved considerably as the season has progressed. His roughest stretch was without a doubt weeks six and seven against Detroit and Buffalo – to be expected, considering they were clearly the best defenses the Vikings have seen this year. He took a slight step forward in weeks eight and nine, and went ever so slightly back in weeks eleven and twelve, before the jump these last two weeks.

Some of this can likely be attributed to the quality of defenses he saw earlier in the season, as compared to the last few weeks. Additionally, the emergence of Charles Johnson and the reduction of Cordarrelle Patterson’s role have likely played into it (though that’s a topic for a different post).

Maybe the best way to determine whether Teddy is truly improving will be by watching the Vikings battle those same Lions this Sunday, this time in Detroit. If Teddy continues to prosper, then perhaps the Vikings franchise does – as Mike Zimmer put it – belong to Teddy.