Broncos’ Teddy Bridgewater redeems himself as too hard to stop QB

In a stadium where five years of accumulated frustration finally cracked the NFL’s most loyal fans, they booed Teddy Bridgewater and his Denver teammates off the field. With only one good leg to stand on, the veteran quarterback looked into the abyss.

Broncos Country was ready to leave Bridgewater, kick coach Vic Fangio out of town and bury a team guilty of breaking hearts.

On a desperate Sunday that safety Justin Simmons knew “this is it, this is the season”, the Broncos breathed new life into their playoff hopes and beat the Los Angeles Chargers, 28-13.

After destroying the confidence of the Denver fans for lowering his head and refusing to make a tackle after a turnaround the last time he adjusted to Empower Field at Mile High, Bridgewater redeemed himself by leading his team to victory despite a painful shin injury that forced him to the bench at the start of the match.

As he stood alone on the sideline near the 25-yard line for much of the first half, unsure if he would return to action, Bridgewater tried to play tricks from the spirit. “I’m tearing myself apart,” he said. “I reassure myself like, ‘Hey, man, you can go out and do this. “I just wanted to be there for the guys.”

After x-rays confirmed no serious structural damage, Bridgewater returned to the pitch early in the third quarter, looking as unsteady as Professor Albus Dumbledore.

But one afternoon when the Drew Lock experience was finally shattered, with an interception late in the second quarter that set up a touchdown from the Chargers and reminded us why Lock didn’t have a Future as a quarterback with this team, coach Vic Fangio would play against Teddy B even if the stoned veteran had to sit in the pocket and throw passes from a La-Z-Boy recliner.

As the Broncos clung to a 14-7 lead, Bridgewater returned to the caucus for his team’s opening possession in the third period, and in a scene we’ve all seen far too many times this season, the series imploded. A conservative race went nowhere on the first try. A detention penalty on the second down pushed Denver far behind the sticks. And then Teddy Two Gloves dinked and dunked two short passes, both of which are incomplete.

Sick and tired of watching the same old stuff, fans were angry enough to boo Bridgewater, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and possibly Santa himself.

“This is the problem with the world,” Bridgewater said, “everyone is trying to find the negative.”

I’ve seen a lot of weird and crazy things at the Broncos games since John Elway and I arrived in this dusty old town in 1983. But I never thought I’d see the sunny disposition of Denver fans turn into the bitterness of the booers that made Philadelphia infamous, especially with the home team still ahead of seven points.

But I certainly understand the frustration. And Simmons understands why a loss to the Chargers would have prompted paying customers to activate a franchise that seemed lost and directionless since winning Super Bowl 50 more than five years ago.

“We know the winning tradition and culture that has been established here for years, years even beyond my birth,” said Simmons, who celebrated his 28th birthday earlier this month. “All we want to do, contrary to popular belief, is go out and win soccer games… We want to play the ball that Broncos Country is proud to come to and watch.”

If all goes according to plan for general manager George Paton, the team’s starting quarterback in 2022 will be Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, not Bridgewater.

But let me be the first to toast the harshness of Teddy B, who led an 80-yard second-half touchdown on a gimpy leg and finished with 129 passing yards one day when the carriers of ball Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams crushed LA and crushed the Chargers into a pulp as sweet as freshly squeezed California oranges.

“Teddy’s tenacity is beyond question,” said Fangio, who previously criticized Bridgewater’s lack of effort, allowing Philadelphia cornerback Darius Slay to score and score with a fumble in an embarrassing home loss. against the Eagles.

Back from the abyss, Teddy B now leads Denver to Kansas City with first place on the AFC West line. The Broncos could get beaten up. Bridgewater, however, deserves the credit for spitting out all the dirt we (myself included) threw at him and showing the resilience that inspired his teammates.

“He’s our quarterback,” Fangio said.

One afternoon when he could have quietly limped away from Denver, never to hear from him again, Bridgewater was celebrated in a winning locker room so loud that cheers could be heard down the hall, where miserable people Ink-stained like myself were waiting in the auditorium for post-game interviews.

“We have work to do,” Bridgewater said.

Half an hour after the win, after most of the teammates showered and dressed, Teddy B still hadn’t taken off his uniform, a quarterback grateful for redemption and every last minute he wears orange and blue in a city still crazy about football after all these crazy years.


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