CRAWFORD | It's Teddy Time in Minnesota after NFL debut in New O - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | It's Teddy Time in Minnesota after NFL debut in New Orleans

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Teddy Bridgewater sets to throw in his NFL debut. (AP photo) Teddy Bridgewater sets to throw in his NFL debut. (AP photo)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In the stadium where he played probably his best college football game, Teddy Bridgewater saw his first regular-season NFL action Sunday when he took over for the injured Matt Cassel in the Minnesota Vikings' 20-9 loss to New Orleans in the Superdome.
And now, the Bridgewater era in Minneapolis has begun.

Cassel sustained fractures in his foot during a second-quarter scramble, meaning the former University of Louisville star and first-round draft pick will be the starter moving forward for the Vikings. Bridgewater expressed disappointment for Cassel's injury and said he would keep the injured starters, "in my prayers." But with the NFL under fire for off-the-field scandal, Bridgewater, whose inspiring story to an NFL starting job is Hollywood-type stuff, arrives with a chance to change at least some of the Minnesota storylines.

On Sunday, his team trailed 13-3 when he entered the game, but Bridgewater calmly led the Vikings to a field goal drive.

For the game, he accounted for 177 of Minnesota's 247 yards, including 150 yards passing (12 of 20) and 27 yards in six carries. He also played without committing a turnover.

VIDEO: Teddy Bridgewater's post-game news conference in New Orleans.

New Orleans put the game away late on a scoring drive kept alive by a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty on Minnesota.

"I think I did pretty good for the most part, but missed a couple of throws, a couple of easy throws," Bridgewater told reporters afterward. "But overall I think it was a good, a great, a good performance. I've got some areas to improve on, whether it's ball placement or communication, whether it's calling the play in the huddle or getting the play from the sideline on my part, so I think it was a pretty good performance but there's a long way to go."

Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said he liked Bridgewater's composure and that he expects the rookie will get better with more reps as the starter this coming week.

"I thought he did some good things," Zimmer said. "Obviously it's a tough situation going in there. He made some very good throws. Obviously he missed a couple. He was able to extend plays with his legs quite well. He overcome some tough situations himself in the game. . . . I thought he was very composed with everything. You didn't see any panic. There were some issues wit the headsets, but he handled it well. I believe that he's going to be very good."

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees took time after the game to talk with Bridgewater, who said the two met during the Super Bowl in January.

Bridgewater's first pass was a 10-yard completion, and he connected with running back Matt Asiata for a 41-yard gain on a screen pass.

"If I was able to make quick decisions, it helped me," Bridgewater said. "The guys on the outside did a great job. The guys up front did a great job of letting me sit in the pocket and do my job."

When asked if Bridgewater is the team's starter for the foreseeable future, Zimmer said, "That's correct." When asked if he thinks Bridgewater will be ready, he said, "He'll be ready. It'll help him to go back home. It'll help to get all the reps next week. SO I think that'll be good for him."

Bridgewater said he wasn't nervous coming into the game on Sunday, and he's confident that he'll be ready to start: "I wasn't nervous because this is where I always wanted to be. Unfortunately the way it happened wasn't the way I was expecting it to. But I was just able to go out there, I was relaxed, the guys put their trust in me. . . .

"I feel that I'm going to be very ready. I'll be able to get more practice reps during the week. As a backup, it's all about having mental reps throughout the week. We have seven days to prepare for Atlanta, and I'll just have to get those physical reps out there and develop that chemistry with the guys and be a better quarterback."

Of all games, Bridgewater said he had no family at today's game in New Orleans. That'll certainly be different next week in Minnesota. He did see some symmetry in the game being in the Superdome, where he shot onto the NFL radar with his performance in a Sugar Bowl win over Florida.

"It was great to be back here, city of New Orleans," Bridgewater said. "It was a great feeling to be back in a facility where you had your best college football game in, and you actually get to play your first NFL game here. It's just a good feeling."

Now Bridgewater is going to get the chance to chance that feeling.

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