Brian Allee-Walsh

Why Teddy Bridgewater struggled vs. Chargers, and likely won over Saints teammates

Saints fans march through city to boycott Super Bowl

New Orleans Saints fans still aren't over the officiating in the NFC Championship, as the took to the streets to protest the Rams taking on the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
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New Orleans Saints fans still aren't over the officiating in the NFC Championship, as the took to the streets to protest the Rams taking on the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

The New Orleans Saints may not have lit up the scoreboard Sunday with backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but I bet he scored valuable points where it counts most.

Inside the organization and locker room.

Yes, Bridgewater played poorly during the first half of the Saints’ 19-17 comeback win over the Los Angeles Chargers in a nationally-televised exhibition game at Heath Dignity Sports Park in Carson, California.

With good reason.

He was dealing with an undisclosed sickness, a bug he’d picked up in southern California earlier in the week. That’s not an excuse. Just the truth.

Afterward, Coach Sean Payton acknowledged he should have pulled Bridgewater earlier in his pitch count (24 snaps). But Payton needed to get as many snaps from Bridgewater before inserting closer Taysom Hill late in the first half with the Saints trailing 17-3.

Payton’s game plan did not include the ageless wonder, Drew Brees, a healthy scratch who was being held out of his second consecutive exhibition game. Perhaps, we’ll see Brees make a cameo appearance against the New York Jets at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

If not, we can expect Bridgewater, who was traded by the Jets to the Saints a year ago, and Hill to go the distance again.

That said, the Black and Gold rallied against the Chargers with No. 3 Hill running the show, outscoring the Chargers 16-0 in the second half. Hill completed 11 of 15 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns for a stellar 140.6 passer rating. He also led the Saints in rushing for a second consecutive game with 53 yards.

And while Bridgewater may not have distinguished himself during his 24 snaps of work (five possessions) — five of 12 for 40 yards, with one INT for a sickly 16.0 passer rating — he likely endeared himself to his coaches and teammates for playing “hurt.’‘

Sunday’s performances by Bridgewater and Hill did nothing to change the pecking order on the QB depth chart. It still reads — Brees, Bridgewater and Hill — and I suspect it will remain that way for the rest of this season barring injury.

The operatives words being “this season.’‘

Payton provided cover for Bridgewater after the game, citing the player’s poor health and lack of help from his offensive teammates. But Bridgewater didn’t need Payton’s cover. He took full responsibility for his performance, saying “I have to do a better job fighting through difficult situations ... and I have to be out there with those guys.’‘

In today’s sporting world, it’s refreshing to see a high-profile pro athlete not make excuses and hold himself accountable when things don’t go right.

Last time I looked, the Oakland Raiders are still trying to get their boorish wide receiver, Antonio Brown, fitted for comfortable shoes for his frostbitten feet and a league-approved helmet for his over-inflated ego.

Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.
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