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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has said – to most who would listen – that the Broncos have improved so much offensively offensively last offseason that “even I could play quarterback.”
But even Miller was impressed with Teddy Bridgewater’s debut of the regular season with the team on Sunday.
“He did an incredible job. He was 10 times better than me, yes, maybe eight times better than me,” Miller said with a smile. “He did an incredible job. He was ready out there, he came out of some big sacks early in the fight, he converted from those confusions. Just a great day from Teddy.”
Bridgewater, acquired in a trade with the Carolina Panthers in April, completed 28 of 36 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns during the Broncos’ 27-13 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. And perhaps most importantly for a team that has all too often turned revenue at quarterback position – the Broncos led the league in 2020 in both wickets and giveaways in general – Bridgewater was routinely cool under pressure and finished without revenue.
The Broncos totaled 420 yards, scored on five of their eight possessions, had three scoring drives in at least 10 games and would have added another scoring drive to the total if tight end Albert Okwuegbunam did not fumble on the Giants’ 4-yard line in the second quarter .
Bridgewater finished with a league-best 95.7 QBR. It was the Broncos’ first win in September since 2018. It was an offensive production that would have been their third best last season. That was enough for the crowd of Broncos fans who stayed in the stadium for the final game to serenade Bridgewater with the song “Ted-dy! Ted-dy!” as he walked up the tunnel to the locker room.
“I saw a guy in total control, and when he had to improvise, he did,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “And a lot of them were on big, big plays.”
For a team that has been looking for composition and reliability behind center since Peyton Manning retired after the 2015 season, Bridgewater is a breath of fresh air. Several teammates said Bridgewater held a passionate talk before the match that contained the message of wasting no opportunities.
“You could just feel it, when a guy doesn’t cheat, you can just feel it,” Miller said of the speech.
In addition to the kickoff-to-final-whistle consistency, Bridgewater showed evasion in the pocket and extended play when needed. His ability, as he put it, to “keep shooting” and convince his teammates to do the same after some early mistakes was just as important as any pass he threw.
Bridgewater could be seen on the Broncos’ bench repeatedly trying to encourage teammates. When KJ Hamler dropped what would have been a certain 50-yard touchdown reception during the Broncos’ first possession of the second half, Bridgewater quickly reminded Hamler of a third catch, the receiver made for a first down four games before and beat him for another 22-yard reception during the Broncos’ next drive.
“Keep shooting. KJ had the ball down in the end zone, OK, we miss, I miss [tight end] Noah [Fant], Store O [Okwuegbunam] had fumbled early in the match, but the game continues – we can not blink, “said Bridgewater. You can not continue with a game, because in the next series we will hold back. “
Bridgewater, who got one of the game balls after the win, stuck to his usual “it’s fat” to all the verbal bouquets that threw themselves. He also promised to keep things in perspective.
“Keep controlling the things we can control, what is our hard work every day, the mindset we have, and how we approach each day,” Bridgewater said. “… [But it] means a lot, came out, new organization, have a game like this. But it’s not just me … coming out with a victory is a great feeling. “