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Teddy Bridgewater Bounces Back, Throws for Career-High 335 Yards

Teddy Bridgewater's demeanor has avoided peaks in good times and valleys in bad.

The second-year quarterback encountered both in games this week.

Bridgewater threw for a career-high 335 yards on 25-of-36 passing with one touchdown for a passer rating of 108.0 on Thursday Night Football, but the Vikings fell 23-20 in Arizona at the NFC West-leading Cardinals (11-2).

Believe it or not, he'd been happier with at least one more incompletion.

With no timeouts remaining and the ball at the Arizona 31-yard line, Bridgewater surveyed receiving options near the sideline. He drew back and prepared to fire the ball out of bounds, but Dwight Freeney spun his way through traffic, and struck Bridgewater's throwing hand, knocking the ball free.

It's a move that Freeney's done so many times he should have patented it but shared with former Colts teammate Robert Mathis. The sack fumble, basically a category created because of Freeney, prevented the Vikings from stopping the clock with an incompletion and allowing Blair Walsh a 48-yard attempt at tying the game.

"The play call was designed to get out of bounds," Bridgewater said. "We had all the receivers coming from the left side of the field. I tried to do my best to wait for those guys to at least get on the right side of the hash so they don't get tackled in bounds since we didn't have a timeout. I was just getting ready to throw out of bounds so we can live to see another down."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings are "trying to throw the ball to the sideline."

"You can't complete the ball in bounds because 12 to 13 seconds is right at the time you can spike the ball and get the clock stopped," said Zimmer, who added that he considered sending out Walsh on third down as an option.

Bridgewater went toe-to-toe with an aggressive Cardinals secondary and measured up nicely against Carson Palmer, who completed 25 of 35 passes for 310 yards with two touchdowns for a passer rating of 117.6.

Zimmer, who said earlier this week that Palmer deserves consideration for NFL MVP, said Bridgewater "threw the ball well and did some great things."  

It was an encouraging rebound for Bridgewater and the Vikings, who struggled in multiple areas Sunday against the Seahawks.

"We talked to him about some things mechanically a little bit, which I think looked a lot better during the week of practice. It's hard for me to see technique during the game," Zimmer said. "We talk about getting completions and that's what he got tonight.

"He got a lot of completions and converted on third downs [6 of 11, 54 percent], which was big," Zimmer said. "Those were huge and part of it is we had to possess the ball because of where we were defensively [missing four starters] tonight."

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