SEATTLE — Teddy Bridgewater saw the blitz coming and knew exactly what to do.
The Broncos were on their first offensive series of the night, and thanks to a 35-yard completion from Bridgewater to wide receiver Jerry Jeudy on fourth and 5 three plays earlier, Denver was at the Seattle 2-yard line facing third and goal. The Seahawks sent a corner blitz and Bridgewater, seeing it out of the corner of his eye, nailed wide receiver KJ Hamler for a touchdown the moment he received the snap.
“He’s got good quarterback awareness and instincts," coach Vic Fangio said. "I think it’s shown in the way he can move within a pocket and buy time that way. There’s two types of elusive quarterbacks — ones that run around, and there’s the other ones that manipulate the pocket to buy time. The best of that in the past 20 years has been Tom Brady, and he’s got a little of that in him, as far as manipulating the pocket.”
Being compared to arguably the greatest football player after a preseason game is quite the compliment for Bridgewater. But while Saturday's game was meaningless in terms of wins and losses, Bridgewater's patience in the pocket and ability to read Seattle's defense was impressive in its own right. He finished the game 9 for 11 with 105 passing yards and one touchdown, now having only thrown three incompletions in 19 attempts this preseason.
“Teddy played well, obviously," coach Vic Fangio said. "You guys saw it. Some of his good plays were hard quarterback plays, where he had to manipulate the pocket, step up, step laterally, wait for something to come open late. I thought he did really well. He was helped by the fourth-down conversions, but one of those fourth downs was because we dropped a pass on third down that would have been an easy conversion.”
For Bridgewater, his mindset Saturday was simple: score. To him, it doesn't matter how he and the offense score touchdowns, as long as they're consistently finding the end zone.
And when you're in a close quarterback battle like Bridgewater, that's not a bad mindset to have.
"I was just out there doing my job. My job is to move the chains and get my unit into the end zone," said the always humble Bridgewater. "The offensive line did a great job of protecting tonight. Everything starts with those guys. They never get the credit that they deserve. They open holes in the run game and protect in the pass game. They communicate well. ... Get the ball to our guys, let them make plays and you can see what can happen when they get the ball in space."
It seems as though Fangio and the Broncos are close to making a decision between Bridgewater and Lock, who has shown some impressive growth himself this preseason in training camp and has looked like a starting quarterback. Fangio, for good reason, believes they can win with either, after both have been stellar in the preseason games.
But for Bridgewater, whether the decision is made this week or the competition continues, he proved Saturday he's more than ready to be the starter.
"The earliest it would be would be early next week, or we’ll let it go another week," Fangio said. "Because these guys, both of them, Drew and Teddy, have done well, as you guys have seen, and they’ve made it a hard decision. So we’ll give it thorough thought. We’ve been discussing it, with the coaches, with (GM) George (Paton), all along and we’ll continue to do that.”