Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has shown Vikings fans many reasons to be excited and maybe the biggest is his play when during crunch time.
Tim Yotter of Viking Update writes that Bridgewater has been at his finest when the Vikings need it most:
*All three of Teddy Bridgewater's wins as a Minnesota Vikings quarterback have required him to bring his team back from fourth-quarter deficits, sometimes more than once in the fourth quarter.
In his most recent win, a 29-26 decision against the Washington Redskins, Bridgewater engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, one that gave the Vikings a 21-20 lead two minutes into the final period and the second that gave them a 29-26 lead with 3:27 to play.
The Vikings have talked about Bridgewater's poise since selecting him at the end of the first round in May's draft, but the rookie has seemed to shine brightest with the game on the line.
"I think I just told myself, just play football. And the coaching staff continued to remind me, Coach (Mike) Zimmer told me before the ball was even kicked off, 'You don't have to be perfect. Just play your game, just play football,'" Bridgewater said of his second-half performance against Washington. "I still find myself trying to be perfect throughout the course of a game. I have to continue to trust what I'm being told, trust the play-calling. We have a great group of guys here who have been doing a great job all year. … All I have to do is play my game and make it easy for our defense."
All signs point to Bridgewater being best when it matters most.
When leading, he has a completion percentage of 42.9 and a rating of 51.5. When trailing, those balloon to a 63.2 completion percentage and 78.2 rating.
They increase even more in the final minutes of games when he is trailing – 66.67 completion percentage and 93.1 rating when trailing with less than four minutes to go, and 80 percent completion percentage and 109.2 rating when trailing with less than two minutes to go.
"Composure is big. We'd like for him to be ahead a little bit more, but I just think that the game is not too big for him," Zimmer said. "He sits in there and understands what he has to get done. There's a heightened sense of urgency, not just with Teddy but with everybody. We'd like to play like that a little more often than just in the fourth quarter, but I know it's a stat that everybody loves to have. It's important to win the ballgames. That's the most important thing."*
Bridgewater will be in search of his first division win this Sunday at Chicago and let's hope a comeback won't be needed this time.
-* *Vikings.com Craig Peters takes a timeout with Vikings cornerback Marcus Sherels
- From 1500 ESPN's Derek Wetmore – Matt Kalil and Jared Allen talk about their upcoming matchup.
- Allen struggling in Chicago while replacement Griffen thriving via Brian Hall of FSN.