Teddy Bridgewater is not out there to tackle.
Just check the tape.
With the Eagles leading 20-13 late in the third quarter, the Broncos faced fourth-and-1 at Philadelphia’s 23-yard-line. They went for it. Running back Melvin Gordon fumbled. Eagles cornerback Darius Slay picked it up and navigated a horde of would-be tacklers who stood no chance of stopping the speedy defensive back.
Well, one did. Bridgewater stood in Slay’s path near midfield with a good chance to at least slow down Slay. Faced with the prospect of a full-speed collision with an NFL defender, Bridgewater decided to stand aside (:15 above).
Slay found open field from there and sprinted to an 83-yard return to extend Philadelphia’s lead to 27-13, turning the tide from a potential tie game into a two-touchdown lead for the visiting team. The Eagles went on to a 30-13 win.
Bridgewater explains decision
After the game, Bridgewater admitted that he hoped one of his Broncos teammates would make a tackle.
“I’m just thinking, hey man, maybe I can force the ball back inside and one of our guys would make the tackle.”
Can you blame Bridgewater for his decision? On one hand, a tackle would have saved a touchdown and kept the Broncos in reach of a win with a chance to improve to 6-4. On the other hand, the Broncos aren’t as good as their record suggests. The playoffs are a little more than a pipe dream in Denver, and Bridgewater’s career has been repeatedly wrecked by injuries.
Would it have been worth it for him to put his body on the line just as he was stringing together consecutive healthy seasons? He’s sure to draw criticism for issuing the free pass. But he probably prefers the heat over the downside of another potential injury.