Teddy the wild card against Seattle
MINNEAPOLIS - When Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater walked into the locker room Wednesday at Winter Park, he knew something was very different.The playoffs have arrived."You can tell that the guys' focus is totally different,'' Bridgewater said.
MINNEAPOLIS – When Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater walked into the locker room Wednesday at Winter Park, he knew something was very different.
The playoffs have arrived.
“You can tell that the guys’ focus is totally different,’’ Bridgewater said. ‘Coach (Mike) Zimmer said something this morning in the team meeting, ‘Now you’re playing for trophies and rings, not just banners.’ Hearing that, it lets you know that it’s go time.’’
The second-year man will make his postseason debut Sunday when the Vikings face Seattle at TCF Bank Stadium, and there will be plenty of eyes upon him.
After three consecutive strong outings, Bridgewater had one of his worst games last Sunday at Green Bay. Yes, the Vikings won 20-13 to wrap up the NFC North, but Bridgewater completed just 10 of 19 passes for 99 yards with an anemic passer rating of 45.7.
The right-handed Bridgewater could have cost the Vikings dearly when he threw an ill-advised left-handed interception in the third quarter. However, Zimmer made it clear Wednesday how much confidence he has in his quarterback.
“I don’t have any concerns about Teddy,’’ Zimmer said. “I’m sure he will play good this week.’’
Bridgewater has looked at plenty of tape of the Green Bay game. He said he learned from it.
“We’re at our best when we’re just taking completions, taking what the defense is giving us, not trying to be too perfect on every play,’’ Bridgewater said. “Whenever we’re in rhythm, when we’re completing the football, converting third downs, and that’s when we’re at our best.’’
Now, though, there might be even more pressure on Bridgewater. How they perform in the playoffs is often how quarterbacks are judged.
Bridgewater will face two challenges Sunday: the weather and the NFL’s best defense. With the temperature forecast to be around zero degrees, Bridgewater said he has to be “smart with the football.’’
Facing Seattle’s defense, which led the NFL in fewest points allowed for a fourth straight year, could be a much tougher task. The Seahawks shut down Bridgewater in a 38-7 win Dec. 6 at TCF Bank Stadium, allowing him to complete just 17 of 28 passes with one interception and a passer rating of 55.4.
The Seahawks sacked Bridgewater four times. After the game, linebacker Bruce Irvin told NFL.com that Bridgewater was “so scared.’’
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that game was an aberration because the Seahawks took a big lead and Bridgewater “got knocked out of his style of play.’’ Regardless, Bridgewater knows he must be better.
“The thing about that defense, they want you to be impatient and that’s something I noticed the first time we played them,’’ Bridgewater said. “There’s nothing wrong with taking those easy completions and then the big play will come. … You just have to take what they’re giving you.’’
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