After Teddy Bridgewater’s stellar performance against the New York Jets on Sunday, Teddy Bridgewater—a two-time winner of the Pepsi Rookie of the Week Award—is up for the award for a third time. Though last time, there were perhaps some questions about the relative merit of Bridgewater against players like Donte Moncrief and Tre Mason, he definitely played a big role in helping the team win.
This week, there should be little doubt that Teddy well deserves the consideration. From my player recap of the game:
Teddy Bridgewater is clearly progressing as a quarterback, with a very impressive game whose statistics undersell his contribution to the offense. An interception on a Hail Mary at the end of the half and a fumbled touchdown pass (that still scored points) take away from an outing that is closer to excellent than average. Though the Vikings offense struggled at times, it was rarely his fault—his biggest flaw in the game was excusable and corrected by the end of the game, which was a tendency to drop his eyes when moving away from pressure, biggest in the third down.
Still, he made some tremendous plays under pressure and made very few, if any mistakes. His decisionmaking after the snap was smart without being overly cautious. It seems like the pre-draft canard about his deep ball is fading by the wayside in these last two games, as both of his very deep attempts in this game were very good—a perfectly placed basket catch to Charles Johnson, followed by a shot under pressure and on the move that was a little underthrown but well-placed enough given the circumstances, not reeled in by Johnson.
The Vikings didn’t give Bridgewater the ability to showcase himself too much, opting to run on almost every first down with Matt Asiata instead of passing, but when he could make plays, he did. Of the eight incompletions Bridgewater is charged with, at least one was a throwaway and another was that Hail Mary interception mentioned above. A third was the deep ball to Johnson under pressure.
The biggest moment of the game seems like a touchdown that had little to do with Teddy, but Bridgewater checked out of the first play in response to a blitz look by the Jets and threw a screen with man advantage to his right—allowing Wright to run 87 yards for a touchdown.
If one were to wash away the Hail Mary interception and grant Teddy the touchdown that Charles Johnson fumbled at the goal line, his adjusted net yards per attempt rises from 9.7 adjusted net yards per attempt (higher than any other quarterback’s average this year) to 11.7, higher than all but 17 individual performances this year so far. His passer rating (117.7) rises to 145.6 in those circumstances, the ninth-highest individual performance this year.
Teddy was accurate, concise in his decisions, clean in the pocket and extraordinarily aware in the Vikings win. He looks like who the Vikings were developing him to be and the quarterback that the draft community fell in love with.
The other players Teddy will have to compete with are:
- Derek Carr, earning a Pro Football Focus grade of +2.3, with a 28-attempt improbable win over their Bay Area rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. Carr completed 22 of 28 (78.6 percent) of his passes, and averaged 9.1 yards per attempt. His passer rating was 140.2 and he had an adjusted net yards per attempt of 10.5. Though Teddy’s Hail-Mary and passer rating adjusted throws exceeded Carr, you shouldn’t be surprised if Carr got the nod.
- Andre Williams, who earned a +0.8 grade that week from Pro Football Focus and 131 yards on the ground on 24 tries (5.5 yards a carry). he also gained 16 yards in the air.
- Bene Benwikere, who though allowing 8 catches on ten targets, only allowed 48 total yards, along with an interception and two pass deflections, earning a Pro Football Focus score of +4.0, the second-highest of any cornerback this week.
- Martavis Bryant, who earned a Pro Football Focus score of +0.7 by grabbing 109 yards on six targets (and four catches) for a touchdown.
Be sure to vote for Teddy for both that award and the GMC Never Say Never award, which rewards players for heroic comebacks and gritty performances from behind to beat the odds. As a reminder, Teddy is eligible for the award for checking into the winning play against the zero-blitz the Jets were going to send, an 87-yard screen pass to Jarius Wright. He’s up against Andrew Luck, who led an insane comeback against the Cleveland Browns and Drew Stanton, who took the lead back from the Chiefs with four minutes left in their game.
As a reminder, Luck had to rally back after throwing two interceptions, and held off the lead because Brian Hoyer threw an interception to end the game—which otherwise would have resulted in a tie because Luck failed to convert the two-point conversion—while Stanton received the ball from an Alex Smith interception and led a drive from a short field (the Chiefs’ 42) in order to win. Alex Smith got the ball back with a minute to go in his own territory and threw four consecutive screens from his own 31.
Not that I’m biased. Vote for Teddy!