Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater's performance in Minnesota's 38-17 victory over the Bears on Sunday was certainly one of his best, and even the 23-year-old quarterback acknowledged it after the game.
"It probably was," Bridgewater said after throwing for four touchdowns, and running for another. "I'll probably have to look back at the tape and there's still going to be some adjustments that we could have made."
The performance ranks high on his individual list, but it also goes down as one of the best in Vikings history.
Bridgewater became the first Vikings quarterback to throw for four touchdowns since Brett Favre did it Jan. 3, 2010.
"That's amazing," Bridgewater said. "Talk about Brett Favre being my idol. It all points back to [Offensive Coordinator Norv] Turner calling a great game plan, allowing us to go out there and play fast today. The guys did a great job, like I said, every time I put the ball in the air my guys came down with it."
His play on Sunday created cheers of his name throughout the stadium. Cheers were warranted when he leaped into the end zone on a 12-yard rushing play of historical significance,* *writes Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune.
He added a 12-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to become the first Vikings quarterback since Fran Tarkenton in 1961, the team's inaugural season, to throw for four scores and rush for another in a game.
Vensel noted Bridgewater's passer rating of 154.4 is the second-highest by a Vikings QB:
Bridgewater's performance, the second-most efficient in team history, helped the Vikings overcome the absence of three key defenders and the loss of star running back Adrian Peterson for a quarter of action during the middle of the game.
Bridgewater completed 17 of his 20 attempts for 231 yards. And his career-high passer rating of 154.4 trailed only Gus Freotte in the franchise's record books.
Peterson enjoys watching from the sideline
When Adrian Peterson exited the game with an ankle injury it was other playmakers who stepped in and made plays.
While the running back would have loved to be on the field contributing with his teammates, Peterson liked what he saw from the sideline writes Jason Gonzalez of the Star Tribune.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson briefly left Sunday's 38-17 victory over Chicago with a left ankle injury, but managed to return late in the third quarter.
By then, the Vikings offense had already built a 14-point lead and once the margin increased to 21 early the fourth quarter, Peterson settled on the sideline for the remainder of the game.
*"If you look back on the sideline, I'm over there with a big smile on my face," Peterson said. "So many guys contributed today. Obviously, Teddy [Bridgewater] played outstanding, along with the running back group. We had two guys get into the end zone, Jerick McKinnon and Zach Line. We tried to get Matt [Asiata] in there, too, but it felt good to be on the sideline and be able to see those young guys get in there and get the job done."
When asked if that was the first time in his life he's ever said it felt good to be on the sideline, Peterson paused and replied "Probably."
Tension breaks, defense responds
Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press reported that Captain Munnerlyn helped break up pre-game tension, and the defense responded despite key players out because of injuries.
*(Munnerlyn) sanded off the edge by reminding anyone within earshot that this was exactly where they want to be in late December, circling the wagons, playing for postseason stakes and embracing their opportunity. *
"Yeah, they smiled," Munnerlyn told Murphy.
*There was plenty to enjoy about Minnesota's 38-17 takedown of the Bears at TCF Bank Stadium, from Teddy Bridgewater's ascension in a maturing passing game to Adrian Peterson limping back to the top of the NFL's rushing mountain. *
*Down three starters again, the patchwork unit rose to the occasion, sacking Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler five times, forcing a pair of turnovers and limiting the Bears to 293 total yards. *
The balanced attack spread accolades around like stocking stuffers.