Teddy owns poor effort on Slay fumble return: “I just needed to lay it all out for the guys”

Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) during the game against the Washington Football Team at Empower Field at Mile High.
Oct 31, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) during the game against the Washington Football Team at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos’ blowout loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles was truly embarrassing, but no moment in the game was more embarrassing than Teddy Bridgewater’s lackluster tackle attempt on Darius Slay’s fumble return, which ultimately defined the game.

Quarterbacks generally aren’t supposed to put their body on the line during a defensive return, but that moment was unique. That return ended the Broncos’ season, and Teddy very easily could have gotten in the way of Slay to slow him down, at the bare minimum, and likely trip him up.

Fortunately, Bridgewater was quick to own the mistake, though it’s always impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

“We watched it today as a team,” Bridgewater told the media on Monday. “Coach [Vic Fangio] pointed out that my effort had to be better there. I totally agree. That’s not the type of tape that I want to put out there. It’s one of those situations where you get pissed after you watch it because you know how much this game means to you. Guys are out there trying to make a play. You feel like you have a little help running towards the sideline and you try to force a cutback. In real time, it feels like everything is happening fast—let’s force a cutback. But when you slow it down, it’s like, ‘Man, just give more effort.’ You watch it and you walk away from it pissed at yourself. Credit Slay—he made a great play also. It’s one of those deals where we have guys that were trying to make the tackle. I just needed to lay it all out for the guys in that moment.”

Bridgewater not only owned the embarrassing mistake, but also owned any of the potential public backlash that might come with it.

“I failed and I own up to it,” Bridgewater said. “It’s unacceptable as a football player and as a member of his team. You play this game and you lay it all on the line every week. That’s one of those moments where I just have to accept the fact that I didn’t give everything I had in me on that play. I understand that there’s going to be some backlash that comes with it. I’m a grown man. I’m a professional athlete. I understand that’s what comes with it—the backlash and things like that. But it doesn’t define who we are as a football team. It doesn’t define me as a man and as a football player. We get this bye week to get some time and just reflect and embrace the good, accept the bad, embrace the bad, and just move forward. We can’t let Sunday’s performance linger. We can’t let that determine the outcome of the rest of the season.”

As well as the public backlash, Bridgewater understands how he hurt his team and the criticism he must face from them as well for his costly error.

“Guys have talked to me about the play,” Bridgewater continued. “I won’t share what we talked about, but it was great that coach called it out in the team meeting. We talk about holding each other accountable. That’s a moment right there where I’m not going to sink in my chair or feel bad that coach called me out. I take full ownership in what happened. Coach called me out and I hold myself accountable. We all have a standard that we live by around here. I’m happy coach called me out to show, ‘Hey, man. We need more out of you right here.’ It happened.”

Fortunately, the Broncos have the bye week to get back on track, before facing the dangerous Los Angeles Chargers next week.

SHARE