EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — A challenge the Vikings and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater face this week is realizing a season-opening loss in the Bay Area is water under the bridge.
Bridgewater's start was as rocky as the Northern California coast, with incompletions on three of his first four attempts and a sack on a blitz he said he should have adjusted for.
"I think I was definitely too excited. It was the first game of the season, and you want to get out there and show all of your hard work from training camp, OTAs and the preseason," Bridgewater said. "I think I just missed a couple throws, easy throws that I make in practice 9 out of 10 times and it played a huge role in the outcome."
Bridgewater took a deep shot on the second snap of the game, but it wound up being a near miss to Charles Johnson that would have placed the ball near the San Francisco 5-yard line if not broken up by Tramaine Brock.
"I don't really know what it was," Johnson said. He didn't make the throws that he usually makes that he knows he can make with his eyes closed. That's part of playing the game. You're not going to make every play, and things aren't going to be perfect. That's part of growing up, part of being a better player in this league."
Bridgewater said he was harsh with his self-assessment and didn't mind Head Coach Mike Zimmer saying he "did not play good" after the game.
The second-year pro, who made his first regular season start under the lights and first in a season opener, said he wants to be fast but doesn't want to be in a hurry.
"That's the mindset playing quarterback here, you want to be quick," Bridgewater said. "I think Monday night I was in a hurry. I'm going to get our here today, practice and try to eliminate those mistakes."
Bridgewater took five total sacks for a combination of reasons. He did rally to finish 23-of-32 passing (71.9 percent complete), but also had a costly interception on a night when the offense and defense had multiple struggles.
"I just take it as a learning experience," Bridgewater said. "I tell myself, 'Hey, I can't do the same thing that I did last week or we're going to be sitting at home 0-2.' So I just have to continue to play within myself, play within the system, trust what the coaching staff is telling me and just get the ball to my playmakers and allow those guys to make plays."
Zimmer said he's focused on Detroit and "what we've got to do to win that game."
"We can't do anything about the past," Zimmer added. "All we can do, Bill Gates said, we can only connect the dots going forward."
Vikings players returned to Winter Park for meetings, film study and a practice that was a little later in the day than they have been because Zimmer wanted to allow more time for physical recovery after the latest regular season start (9:20 p.m. CT kickoff) in franchise history and a long flight back to Minnesota.
Vikings believe Bridgewater will be able to handle the disappointing outing and bounce back this week.
"The good thing about Teddy is he never gets too high or too low," left tackle Matt Kalil said. "If he doesn't play well, he's going to keep working hard. I've got no doubt he's going to do great this year, so it's a bad start for everyone, especially on the offense. We've got to bounce back and play better."
Added left guard Brandon Fusco: "He's a pro. He will come back and work hard just like everyone else is going to work hard and come back with a good week."