To my surprise, there was an actual football game between the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers attached to Teddy Bridgewater’s Minneapolis return over the weekend. I guess I missed that in between all the “Mike Zimmer + Teddy Bridgewater: A Match Made in Heaven” fluff pieces I read last week. Kirk Cousins was aware at least.
Unlike me, Cousins had better things to do than to read about how much Mike Zimmer misses having somebody else as his quarterback. Kirk was more concerned with putting the Vikings on his back and leading them to a season-saving win against Bridgewater’s Panthers.
Hopefully, Kirk’s 34/45 (75.5%), 307 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT and game-winning touchdown drive performance will ease Zim’s still-achy-breaky heart. Falling asleep last night and waking up this morning with the Vikings in all of the playoff graphics on NFL Network and ESPN had to help…
Teddy on the other hand…
The guy that Minnesota Vikings media was fawning over all of last week wasn’t able to tie a bow on the Cinderella comeback story they were trying to write. Teddy Bridgewater looked uncomfortable in the pocket all afternoon, his deep ball was wobbly and he was inaccurate at all levels.
If it hadn’t been for a gift from Mike Zimmer, that turned a 5-yard crossing route into a 60-yard TD, his QBR would’ve been comparable to the practice squad QB who started for Denver. When the game was over, Bridgewater finished 19/36 for 267 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.
In 2020, Kirk and Teddy’s stats actually look pretty similar but you didn’t need any binoculars to see the difference between the two on Sunday. Even Cousins’ pocket awareness, which is normally his biggest weak spot, looked better. He was calmly dancing away from pressure and even took off for first downs when necessary.
But really, the difference between Kirk Cousins and Teddy Bridgewater gets wider as you zoom out on the two careers. Teddy’s injury history isn’t his fault, but it’s his history nonetheless. Meanwhile, Cousins has become one of the few iron-man quarterbacks of NFL history.
Kirk came into the league before Teddy but sat behind Robert Griffin III in Washington for three seasons, before he took over as the full-time starter. By the time he did, it was 2015 and Bridgewater already had 12 starts under his belt from his 2014 rookie campaign. To that point, Cousins only had 9 starts. Here are where the two careers were back then vs where they sit now.
Prior to 2015 Season
But Teddy is a leader and a winner…
He’s a winner? Huh… I guess his 25-20 career record as a starter is technically a winning one. But Bridgewater hasn’t won a playoff game yet and has only 145 yards passing during the only one he played in.
We know Teddy is a great locker room guy. That fact cannot be denied. Just open a Minnesota sports page from last week to find out… but that hasn’t proven to mean anything, to this point in his career.
Everyone wants to rip on Kirk Cousins’ leadership, myself included, but Kirk is the only one of these two QB’s who has a playoff win and he’s the only one who’s lead a game-winning drive in a big playoff game (for the Minnesota Vikings).
As far as leadership and Kirk Cousins relate, I’ll let his teammate Chad Beebe do the talking.
Chad Beebe for the "Kirk Cousins isn't a leader" crowd: pic.twitter.com/Wtw92xiZVD— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) December 1, 2020
I like Teddy Bridgewater too and I’m glad he recovered from what looked like a career-ending injury at one point… but he really can’t hold the jock strap of Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer should stop pretending like he can.
Give me Kirk every time.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan