The best defense Teddy Bridgewater faced was Florida. Looking at the gators roster, the defense was stacked with stars like Sharif Floyd, Jon Bostic, Matt Elam, Dominique Easley, Dante Fowler, Jr.,Jelani Jenkins, Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy, Jaylen Watkins, Josh Evans, and Ronald Powell. Thats 11 note worthy names, and a lot of talent. Oh, and I'm sure I'm missing more, but there were other guys on that defense that stuck around pro rosters so far like Lerentee McCray has. With all that talent, Teddy took Louisville's offense that features stars like Teddy Bridgewater, umm i guess DeVante Parker, and undrafted free agent Damian Copeland. Somehow this doesn't seem fair. Yet Bridgewater was so good, he lead the Cardinals to a 33-23 upset of Florida, beating one of the best defenses in recent college football seasons. He managed to go 20/32 for 266 yards, with 2 TD's and an INT. He displayed extreme toughness, and leadership, and heres how he managed to pull of the upset of number 3 FLA.
Looking at play number one. This play is an amazing one by Bridgewater to me for many reasons. Watch as he rolls out of the pocket, as he rolls right, he keeps his eyes down field. As he prepares to throw, he must have seen Bostic coming in ready to decapitate him, but Bridgewater said screw you, kept his eyes on his receiver, squared his shoulders, and with a quick release, makes an incredibly accurate throw on the run dropping the ball over the coverage, and into his receivers hands who couldn't quite stay in bounds. The throw was fantastic, and the mechanics were fluid and great. He also got absolutely murdered by Bostic, but never took his eyes off his receivers down field, and showed toughness to get up, dust himself off and get right back into the huddle.
This throw, may have been the best throw of the 2012 season. Louisville's o-line was man handled by Florida's pass rush all game long, but Teddy simply didn't care. Take note of how Teddy acknowledges how there's pressure and realizes he needs to throw quickly to avoid a sack. One problem, there's no one open. Seriously, look at where his receiver is when Bridgewater makes that throw. He is covered like a glove, but TB sees that he can zip the ball into a tight window between 3 defenders, and throws him open. That's a pro level throw, against pro level players as Josh Evans was there, along with Poole who was a big time recruit and will soon go pro, but I cant tell who the third guy is.
He is no Johnny Manziel, but he can escape the pocket and pick up a first down when he needs to.
He shows great anticipation here to throw his receiver open once again and thread the needle.
Third down, thirteen long yards to go. The defense blitzes 7 and the pressure is coming hot what do you do? Well if your TB, you stay calm, and throw a perfect touch pass 15 yards over the defender into your receivers arms. He keeps his eyes down field, and throws a perfect pass.
Now it's the second half. You surprised your opponent and have dominated the first half as the under dog. FLA tried to regain momentum by going for an onside kick, but failed, and the ensuing scrum resulted in 30 yards of penalties against Florida and their back up RB was ejected. You have the ball first and ten from the 19 on the next play. What do you do? If your TB you throw a great pass where only your receiver can get it, for the TD, to bury FLA.
Listen to the commentators. When you have this guy you always have a chance. Oh, and he makes a nice throw on the run to.
Teddy really shouldn't have missed this throw, but on the bright side, when he does miss, he misses where only his guy can get it.
Here is the Josh Evans INT of Bridgewater. Really, you got to give it up to Dominique Easley here to push his guy back, and get up and get a hand on the pass while he is doing a 180. That is easily one of the flukiest INT's of the year, and there is a lot of luck involved in getting that ball tipped.
Overall impressions. Teddy had a few bad misses but this game was a masterpiece. When Teddy does miss his target the ball is in a place that it can't be picked. He also made some incredible throws showing incredible anticipation, accuracy, and touch. He has plenty of zip on his throws and can fit the ball into tight windows before they are visible. He has great footwork and gets high in his drop quickly and fluidly and has a quick release with a good throwing motion. He moves well in the pocket, and squares his shoulders when he throws. He throws very well under heavy pressure, and always keeps his eyes down field. Always seems to find the open receiver. Best QB in this class.
Bottom line: When you have Teddy Bridgewater you always have a chance to win.