SEATTLE — Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater knew what was on the line Saturday night in Seattle and, boy, did he deliver.
The six-year veteran has been in a tight competition with Drew Lock for Denver's starting job, with Saturday possibly being the final test. After Lock started the Broncos' first preseason game last week against the Vikings, Bridgewater got his chance against the Seahawks this week, receiving the first 23 snaps of the game and leading the Broncos to a 30-3 victory.
"Honestly it was just one of those deals tonight where I just wanted to get my unit to the end zone," Bridgewater said. "That’s been my message throughout training camp. My mentor, my great mentor, he always tells me just get your unit to the end zone. No matter how you do it, just get them in the end zone. That’s my mindset every time I step on the field. How can I keep this unit that’s out here with me competing and battling every play to the end zone?"
On his first drive, Bridgewater went 3 for 4 with 42 passing yards and a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver KJ Hamler. On his second drive, he went 6 for 7 with 63 passing yards on a possession that again ended in a Broncos' touchdown.
Overall, Bridgewater looked the best he has all fall, hitting open receivers down field — including a 35-yarder to wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and a 21-yarder to tight end Eric Saubert — and making smart plays, while staying patient in the pocket under pressure.
“Teddy played very well there," coach Vic Fangio said at halftime. "(He) moved the ball, couple really nice throws, managed the pocket well, stepped up. I thought he looked really good.”
Lock only got 12 first-half plays, but played the entire third quarter, getting 17 second-half plays and finishing the game 9 for 14 with 80 passing yards.
"I think it was a good bounce back," Lock said. "Just going out there and making the best out of every play that we had. There’s obviously things that we need to work on, but overall I think tonight’s performance in general as a team, it’s trending in a positive way. It’s fun to be a part of. There were some things there that we’d like to fix, but overall I think it was good."
Here's who else stood out in the first half Saturday night:
Star: Safety Justin Simmons. The Broncos' starting safety didn't waste any time making a big play Saturday, intercepting Seattle quarterback Alex McGough on the first drive of the game.
Highlight: Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy's fourth-down conversion. Jeudy has had one of the best camps of anyone this fall and showed why Saturday, catching a 15-yard pass from Bridgewater and turning it into a 35-yard gain on fourth and 5.
"It’s just one of those deals where you have a clock in your head and you can sense the pocket," Bridgewater said. "I always tell the tackles that I like when you guys just force the defensive ends to do a certain thing and let me step up in the pocket, creating a lane to where I can escape or just give myself more time to pass the ball and push the ball down the field. Jerry [Jeudy] did a great job of winning his route versus man coverage. Offensive line did a great job of protecting and we were able to convert.
Star: DL DeShawn Williams. Williams had two of the biggest plays of the second quarter, recovering a fumble and intercepting a pass. Williams has had a good camp, backing up starting nose tackle Mike Purcell.
Highlight: OLB Jonathon Cooper's strip sack. The rookie had the best play of the first half, stripping the ball from McGough in the backfield, which was then recovered by Williams. Cooper, a seventh-round pick, has been one of the best rookies on the Broncos' roster during training camp.
Star: CB Parnell Motley. Motley had several big plays in the third quarter, coming up with a big pass breakup and a fourth-down tackle.
Highlight: Lock's improvisation. Lock's best play of the game came in the third quarter when he scrambled out of the pocket and flipped a shovel pass to rookie wide receiver Seth Williams for what turned into a 34-yard gain.
"It’s one of those last-second decisions that you have to make," Lock said. "Seth [Williams] got open enough to where I felt like I could fling it to him. It was just trying to make a play, trying to get us going, trying to get a chunk for us and get us rolling. That was enough to get us down there."
Star: LB Curtis Robinson. An undrafted rookie, Robinson had a nice fourth quarter, coming up with a fourth-down tackle to force a Seattle turnover on downs.
Highlight: Rypien to Beyer. Third-string quarterback Brett Rypien found a wide-open tight end Shaun Beyer for an 11-yard touchdown pass.