Over my next few articles, I’m going to be covering the biggest positives (touchdowns) and negatives (turnovers) from some of the second-year QBs in 2015. This article will cover Teddy Bridgewater’s nine interceptions in 2015. First, I’m going to cover some charting data I came up with while watching his passing. Then, on page 2 and beyond, there are my thoughts on the individual plays themselves.
One of the first things I charted for each interception was blame. I assigned three categories, which should be self-explanatory:
|Partially QB’s fault||1|
|Not QB’s fault||0|
Teddy Bridgewater deserves blame for all of his 2015 interceptions. He did not throw any passes that were obviously the fault of his receivers, although there was one pass where the receiver deserved significant blame. The throw was a deep 50/50 ball, and while Teddy’s placement wasn’t perfect, his receiver (Stefon Diggs) could have done a better job to win possession of the football or at least force an incompletion. There were two other picks thrown in contested catch situations, but by my determination Bridgewater deserves full blame for those throws.
What caused the interceptions?
|Tipped By Defense||2|
|Contested Catch Situation||3|
Since there’s overlap in these categories (you can make an ill-advised decision and still make a poor throw), these numbers do not add up to 9. On Bridgewater’s picks, defenders often made diving catches or won a battle with a receiver to get in position to make a catch, and those plays were marked as “great defense.” In another situation, Marcus Peters peeled off a vertical route to jump an underneath crossing route.
The contested catch situations are mentioned above, but deserve mention here as well. The Vikings’ receivers really struggled to win contested catch battles in the 2015 season, and it was often talked about in the process leading up to the draft. The ability of Laquon Treadwell and Josh Doctson to make these kinds of catches is a big part of the reason those two players were often mocked to the Vikings. Ultimately, the Vikings landed Treadwell, and the hope is that his physicality will help Teddy throw more successful 50/50 balls.
The root cause of Bridgewater’s interceptions was typically either a bad decision or a bad throw, although there were two plays where both the decision and the throw were issues. Typically, a bad decision by Teddy involved forcing a pass to a covered receiver, although he also misread the defense in a couple cases. The bad throws were typically ball placement issues, although he had one really boneheaded play and another throw that was wildly off target.
What about distance covered? Bridgewater’s average depth of target on these throws was 20.4 yards. Where on the field was he throwing the ball? Here’s a breakdown of each throw:
|Fewer than 6 Yards||1|
|Between 6 and 15 yards||0|
|More than 15 yards||8|
|Deep Left||Deep Middle||Deep Right|
|Intermediate Left||Intermediate Middle||Intermediate Right|
|Short Left||Short Middle||Short Right|
When Bridgewater threw an interception in 2015, it was almost exclusively 15+ yards down the field. He did have a few throws clustered around that range, with 4 throws at depths of either 16 or 17 yards. He also struggled most throwing to the deep right area of the field, where 4 of his interceptions came from.
What about the time left on the clock? First, a breakdown of potential game situations, followed by a breakdown by quarter:
The Vikings were pretty firmly in the game every time Bridgewater threw an interception.
The interception in week 1 against the 49ers did pretty much end any hopes of a comeback, because the Vikings were down by 14 in the 4th and were completely flat on offense all game, but most interceptions were in close games.
Two of his interceptions came after the 2-minute warning in the 2nd Quarter, where Bridgewater seemed to open up and take risks a bit more. Otherwise, there aren’t a whole lot of trends.
Now let’s take a look at the interceptions he threw by down:
Teddy appears to be equal opportunity as it pertains to which down he throws interceptions on.
What about the kinds of routes he was throwing to?
Bridgewater’s deep ball passing has been widely criticized and that shows up here. He really struggled with ball placement on vertical routes.
Finally, let’s take a look at who Bridgewater was targeting on his interceptions:
Diggs, Rudolph, and Wallace were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively, in targets for the Vikings in 2015. Wallace and Rudolph were just one target apart. It makes sense that they were targeted on 8 of the 9 interceptions Bridgewater threw.
Johnson was nominally a starter until he was injured in the Chargers game, which is the game where he was targeted on an interception. There, he failed to win a contested catch situation, something he struggles with.