Can we trust Teddy?


Teddy Bridgewater during Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys (Photo: Chuck Cook, Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)

It is 3rd and 8 with one minute and fifty seconds remaining in the game. Here comes the Saints offense led by Teddy Bridgewater, the backup savior for this New Orleans team after the injury of starting quarterback Drew Brees. Can he do it again? Can Teddy clutch like he did last week and run away with the game. It’s only eight yards; he can do it. We trust Teddy. The ball is snapped, and Teddy scrambles to avoid the sack. He runs right! He turns left! Only to meet Jaylon Smith, the lunging 6’2, two hundred and fifty-pound middle linebacker of the Dallas Cowboys. Teddy got sacked. He could’ve sealed the game, but now the Saints must punt the ball away to Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in hopes of the mustering one last stop.

     After the primetime matchup, Sean Payton took the blame for the 3rd down call, saying “I hated my call at the end…I put him (Teddy Bridgewater) in a tough position.” But did he make the wrong call? I went back and watched the tape from that 3rd down, and Teddy had two receivers open before the offensive line dissolved, leaving Bridgewater to scramble. Throughout the entire game Teddy failed to get the ball out of his hands, and consequently was sacked multiple times, including the play described earlier. Maybe Coach Payton could’ve had a better play call, one where it took less pressure of the struggling quarterback. However, the fact remains that Teddy has not prevailed in times that have mattered the most.

     Then you start to look and little deeper, and find that Teddy hasn’t been doing so well. You start to wonder if Teddy is the real reason the Saints are winning these games.

     Teddy is averaging just 6.5 yards per pass in his first two games as a starter, which ranks 27th out of 33 quarterbacks in the league, and his total QBR of 24.2 is ranked 29th. Teddy also cannot throw the ball downfield, as he is 1/7 in deep passes (more than 16 yards), which includes Sunday night’s interception. Only 19.5% of his passes are thrown beyond 10 yards which is dead last in the NFL this year. Is it luck? Is it the defense and special teams? Can we trust Teddy to go out and win a football game?

      Yes, I think we can. Although given the statistics above, Teddy Bridgewater is doing just enough to win each game. The Saints beat the Cowboys 12-10 on Sunday night, improving their record to 3-1 overall, and 2-0 with the backup quarterback starting. Without scoring a single touchdown, this offense produced just enough for the defense to shut down the Cowboys highly explosive passing and rushing attack. If this New Orleans Saints defense can continue to dominate the defensive line and keep opposing quarterbacks in check, I trust Teddy to lead this offense and produce just enough to win games. With four opponents left until the projected the return of Drew Brees, if Bridgewater can win even half of his remaining games, the Saints’ odds of claiming their division, and even their conference, is not that far out of reach.