Teddy Bridgewater promises next time he’ll tackle the guy

Nov 16, 2021, 12:50 AM | Updated: 6:48 am
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (2) runs back a fumble recovery for a touchdown against ...

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (2) runs back a fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — For a guy who wouldn’t put himself in harm’s way or Darius Slay’s path, Teddy Bridgewater sure didn’t have any problem falling on the sword.

Or was he pushed?

Broncos coach Vic Fangio called out Bridgewater in a team meeting Monday for being a bystander instead of a barrier on Slay’s 83-yard fumble return for a touchdown Sunday.

It was the decisive play in Denver’s 30-13 loss to Philadelphia that sent the Broncos skidding into their bye at 5-5 instead of tied atop the AFC West with the resurgent Chiefs.

“I’d like to see Teddy at least make a play at the guy,” Fangio said.

Bridgewater explained after the game he was trying to steer Slay away from the sideline so that one of his teammates could make the tackle. Only, Bridgewater was the last line of defense without any of the Broncos’ speedy receivers on the field in the three-tight end formation on fourth-and-1 when Melvin Gordon III fumbled the football.

All three tight ends came close to tackling Slay but once he swept past Bridgewater at the Eagles 45-yard line, he was in the clear.

Bridgewater bristled when asked after the game if he’d made a business decision not to attempt the tackle.

He was roasted on social media both for his matador defense and for his awkward defense of that decision to let Slay sweep past him untouched.

When he met with reporters Monday, Bridgewater said the things he should have said after the game to curb the onslaught of criticism.

“We watched it today as a team. Coach (Fangio) pointed out that my effort had to be better there. I totally agree,” Bridgewater said. “That’s not the type of tape that I want to put out there.”

Because it made him look like he wasn’t a team player, that he didn’t love the game like he professes and that he wasn’t willing to do everything he could to win.

“It’s one of those situations where you get (mad) after you watch it because you know how much this game means to you,” Bridgewater said. “Guys are out there trying to make a play. You feel like you have a little help running toward the sideline and you try to force a cut back. In real time, it feels like everything is happening fast–let’s force a cutback. But when you slow it down, it’s like, ‘Man, just give more effort.’

“You watch it and you walk away from it (mad) at yourself. Credit Slay–he made a great play also. It’s one of those deals where we have guys that were trying to make the tackle. I just needed to lay it all out for the guys in that moment.”

The Broncos were about 20 yards away from tying the game when Gordon gained two yards on fourth-and-1 from the Eagles 23. But linebacker Davion Taylor punched the ball out of Gordon’s hands and Slay scooped up Gordon’s 20th career fumble.

Bridgewater said he was waiting for the officials to blow the play dead and rule that Gordon was down. “Then there wasn’t a whistle. It kind of caught me by surprise,” Bridgewater said.

“But at the same time, I’m right there (with an) opportunity to just dive, sacrifice and do whatever I can to help the team in that moment. I failed and I own up to it. It’s unacceptable as a football player and as a member of his team.

“You play this game and you lay it all on the line every week. That’s one of those moments where I just have to accept the fact that I didn’t give everything I had in me on that play,” Bridgewater said. “I understand that there’s going to be some backlash that comes with it. I’m a grown man. I’m a professional athlete. I understand that’s what comes with it.

“But it doesn’t define who we are as a football team,” Bridgewater added. “It doesn’t define me as a man and as a football player.”

Bridgewater had a devastating knee injury early in his career, so many fans would understand if he was simply trying to avoid an injury. But Bridgewater said that wasn’t the case at all.

“You watch throughout the course of the game and there are times where I’m trying to extend the play in the pocket. I’m not thinking about my body or trying to hold back or anything,” he said.

Bridgewater added that he’s actually glad Fangio didn’t let the whole thing slide.

“It was great that Coach called it out in the team meeting,” Bridgewater said. “We talk about holding each other accountable. That’s a moment right there where I’m not going to sink in my chair or feel bad that Coach called me out. I take full ownership in what happened.”

Still, it was one of the toughest film reviews he’s ever endured.

“Especially when you slow it down,” Bridgewater said. “Like I said, in real time, everything is happening fast. You have the sideline to your advantage to force a cutback. Then when you slow it down with a clicker and a remote in your hand, it’s just like, ‘Man, this is bad.'”

Bridgewater said he actually began to realize his mistake while replaying the game in his head Sunday night, and Monday’s film session only confirmed his regrets.

“Hopefully, I never have to be put in that situation again,” Bridgewater said. “If I am, I’ll make sure that I lay it all on the line. I won’t be the talk of social media or the internet or whatever.

“Hopefully we can just put this behind and move forward.”


Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter at https://twitter.com/arniestapleton and his work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/arniestapleton


More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Miss America 2018 Cara Mund poses for photographers on the 86th Floor Observation Deck of th...
Associated Press

Former Miss America Cara Mund plans to run for Congress

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Cara Mund, a former Miss America who gained attention by criticizing the organization near the end of her reign in 2018, plans to run for Congress in North Dakota as an independent. Mund announced her candidacy Saturday and said she would start gathering the 1,000 signatures she needs to get on […]
12 hours ago
Jan Longone, Curator of American Culinary History, holds up a book from the exhibit titled "The Old...
Associated Press

Janice Longone, chronicler of US culinary history, dies

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Janice Bluestein Longone, who is credited with collecting thousands of items chronicling the culinary history of the United States, including cookbooks, menus, advertisements and diaries, has died at age 89. Longone died Wednesday, according to Nie Family Funeral Home in Ann Arbor. The cause and location of death weren’t announced. […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Coroner: Smoke inhalation killed at least 5 of 10 in fire

NESCOPECK, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say at least half of the 10 people found dead after an early morning fire in northeastern Pennsylvania died of smoke inhalation. The Luzerne County coroner’s office said autopsies on the victims of the early Friday blaze in Nescopeck began Saturday. Examinations by Dr. Gary Ross were completed on three […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Negotiators optimistic about progress on Iran nuclear deal

VIENNA (AP) — Top negotiators in renewed talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal indicated Sunday that they are optimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement to impose limits on Tehran’s uranium enrichment. “We stand 5 minutes or 5 seconds from the finish line,” Russian Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov told reporters outside Vienna’s Palais […]
12 hours ago
This combination of Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022 photos shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and Hillsb...
Associated Press

Florida prosecutor vows to fight Gov. DeSantis suspension

ST. PETERSURG, Fla. (AP) — A Florida prosecutor vowed Sunday to fight his suspension from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis over his promise not to enforce the state’s 15-week abortion ban and support for gender transition treatments for minors. Andrew Warren, a Democrat suspended last week from his twice-elected post as state attorney in Hillsborough […]
12 hours ago
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, center, talks with residents that have been displaced by floodwater...
Associated Press

More storms forecasted for flood-ravaged eastern Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The National Weather Service extended a flood watch through Sunday evening for areas of eastern Kentucky ravaged by high water more than a week ago and said there’s a threat of thunderstorms in the region for much of the coming week. There’s a “persistent threat of thunderstorms” through Thursday that could […]
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Teddy Bridgewater promises next time he’ll tackle the guy