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Zimmer gets in Bridgewater's face, stokes turnaround

Teddy Bridgewater struggled mightily in the first half against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. His deep ball was way off and he couldn't get into any sort of rhythm.

His biggest rookie moment came on a fourth-and-two from the Redskins' 39 with 1:12 remaining in the half. With the Vikings trailing 10-0, coach Mike Zimmer eschewed a long field goal attempt to go for the first down.

Bridgewater took the snap, escaped pressure to his right and appeared to have an easy lane to run for the first down. Inexplicably, the rookie threw the ball away out of bounds.

Very explicably, Zimmer was hot over the decision and, as Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press put it, "took a bite out of (Bridgewater's) behind."

"Once I came over to the sideline, Coach Zimmer was right there in my face telling me to, 'Just run it! Just run it!' " Bridgewater said. "I told myself: 'What am I doing?' I know that I have the ability to keep a play alive. I know that if something isn't open down field I can take advantage of my legs and make a play.

"Right there, I just have to have better judgment. I should have run it. It was only two yards."

Thanks to a terrible throw by Robert Griffin III that was intercepted on the very next play, Bridgewater got his chance to atone for the rookie mistake.

The Vikings scored a touchdown on the subsequent possession. Bridgewater led Minnesota to touchdown drives on four of the five possessions after Zimmer chewed him out on the sideline, leading the Vikes to a 29-26 victory.

Teddy wasn't afraid to run the rest of the game and escaped pressure within the pocket much more confidently.

The game was a microcosm of the rookie's season: he showed glaring deficiencies but displayed poise, made plays and avoided the back-breaking mistake. After just five starts in his NFL career, Bridgewater has a lot to get better at -- but he also has the potential to be the Vikings' long-awaited franchise quarterback.

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