It appears that there is a new gunslinger in the Twin Cities, and his name is Teddy Bridgewater. Teddy made the first start of his pro career for the Vikings and he didn’t disappoint the fans. After the Viking defense stopped the Falcons on their first possession, the crowd knew it was “Teddy Time“.
Teddy came in with the poise of a seasoned veteran, looking calm and cool as he went 4 for 4 passing on the first drive that was capped off with a Matt Asiata 3 yard touchdown run.
The defense was another story, getting burned on to plays that resulted in passes to wide open receivers. On one play, the Viking defensive backs both went to cover the Julio Jones and left Roddy White wide open for a 28 yard pitch and catch. Then later, Matt Ryan hit a wide open Patrick DiMarco for a 1 yard touchdown pass tying the score at 14 all with 6 minutes left in the first half.
The Viking running game might have had some fans asking “Adrian who?”. Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon combinedfor 213 yards on 38 combined carries. Asiata score a career high 3 rushing touchdowns. The effectiveness of the running game kept the Falcons defense guessing and unable to stop the Vikings through the first half. The score at the half 24-14.
The second half started with the Falcons kicking off to the Vikings Cordarrelle Patterson and he promptly returned it to the Minnesota 34. The first Viking drive of the second half ended with a Blair Walsh 41 yard field goal. This is where the game started to remind me of the 1998 NFC championship game where the Vikings dominated, but could never close the deal with the Falcons.
The Falcons took the lead from the Vikings with two long plays, one being 36 yard touchdown pass to Devin Hester that was helped be some poor tackling by the Vikings. The next Falcons score was on a 48 Antone Smith touchdown run. On this particular run, the Vikings sent Harrison Smith on a blitz, but from the wrong side and with no deep help, Smith scored easily.
The next drive would show if Teddy’s start was an anomaly, or is he this good. The Vikings drove the ball and retook the lead on an Asiata 1 yard touchdown run (his 3rd of the game) at 10:52 of the 4th quarter making the score Minnesota 35 – Atlanta 28.
At this point the Vikings seized control of the game. The Vikings Harrison Smith intercepted Matt Ryan’s pass at the Atlanta 30 yard line. This lead to another Walsh field goal and pretty much sealed the win for the Vikings. Josh Robinson also picked off Matt Ryan at the Viking 1 yard line with :05 left in the game.
Teddy Bridgewater was injured on a play in the 4th quarter. At first I had thought it was because he was inadvertently kicked in his left shin, but Teddy stated in his press conference that it was a non-contact injury. He rolled up his ankle trying to make a cut while running the ball at the goal line. Not sure of the extent of the injury, we all know how a sprained ankle can be bothersome.
Christian Ponder came in for mop up duty and didn’t attempt a pass. Bridgewater finished the game on the sidelines going 19 of 30 for 317 yards. The Viking offense gained 558 net yards.
Final score Mn 41 – Atl 28