MIN-ARZ Grades: Teddy Bridgewater comes up short

The top takeaways and highest graded players from Arizona's 23-20 win against Minnesota.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

MIN-ARZ Grades: Teddy Bridgewater comes up short


Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Cardinals 23-20 victory over the Vikings:

Arizona Cardinals

– Every single snap that Dwight Freeney (+0.6) was on the field last night was for a pass rush and he saved his pivotal impact for the last of those 22 snaps. Collecting only two hurries on his first 21 pass rushes, Freeney pulled out his patented spin move to beat Vikings’ LT Matt Kalil (-1.1) on the inside and stripped the ball from Teddy Bridgewater in the pocket to clinch the victory. Freeney may no longer be the same relentless threat he was in his glory days with the Colts, but he’s proving he can still come up with game-changing plays when called upon, displaying the depth and breadth of talent the Cardinals possess.

– In his second straight start David Johnson (+2.1) impressed once again as a runner, topping 90 yards for the second time in five days, but this time didn’t hurt his overall grade by putting the football on the ground. Johnson broke two tackles and collected 51 of his 92 yards after first contact in his best rushing performance of the season. Adding an additional five catches in the passing game, Johnson highlighted his multidimensional skills that could see the Arizona offense improve even further now that he handles the workload in the backfield.

– This was a bit more of a Jekyll and Hyde game from Carson Palmer (+1.5) than the lights out performances that have become customary so far in 2015. Ultimately, he still came up with big plays, particularly down the field, to see the Cardinals to victory. But some ropey passes, especially to the left side of the field, were not punished as fully as they might have been by the Vikings. If Minnesota had been more opportunistic, the game could have turned on those plays.

Top performers:

ILB Deone Bucannon (+2.5)
DE Calais Campbell (+2.2)
HB David Johnson (+2.1)
OLB Josh Mauro (+1.9)
QB Carson Palmer (+1.5)

Minnesota Vikings

– Missing key defenders at every level of the defense, there were prognostications of doom about the Vikings’ fortunes in this game before it even began. Faced with the challenged, their undermanned defense regrouped and held their own in this game. On the defensive line, Brian Robison (+3.2) and Everson Griffen (+4.9) produced strong games, bringing the heat on Carson Palmer which helped out the retooled secondary. The makeshift safety pairing of Anthony Harris (+3.6) and Terence Newman (+1.3) both earned positive grades. Upon watching the film, it will be all the more frustrating for Minnesota’s defense when they realize fundamental errors on the Cardinals two long touchdowns ultimately proved their downfall in a performance that was a few plays away from a securing a victory.

– On offense, Teddy Bridgewater (-0.3) produced another solid performance but once again was unable to come up with a “signature” win that he and the Vikings have consistently come up so agonizingly short of. Blitzed on more than 60 percent of his dropbacks, Bridgewater was able to find the open man to keep the chains moving, earning a passer rating of 120.4 on his 23 attempts against the blitz including his touchdown pass. Ultimately an incredible play by Freeney robbed Bridgewater of the chance to build on his effort in regulation and complete the comeback victory.

– The downturn in production from rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs (-0.2) continued Thursday night as his contribution to the offense was limited to two short catches and two holding penalties drawn from Patrick Peterson, both of which were declined. Since breaking out with 419 yards in his first four games (+7.9 overall), Diggs has only topped 50 yards once in six games since (-2.8 overall), catching only 19 of his 32 targets during the dry spell. Getting Diggs and Bridgewater back in sync will be crucial to the Vikings pushing through the glass ceiling and breaking through against the league’s toughest competition.

Top performers:

DE Everson Griffen (+4.9)
C Joe Berger (+3.8)
S Anthony Harris (+3.6)
DE Danielle Hunter (+3.4)
DE Brian Robison (+3.2)

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • NAJ

    Great to see what Anthony Harris was able to do. Hopefully will get a few more games with Sendejo and Exum out and Blanton stinking the place up. Would love to know what grades Rhodes and Waynes got if anyone still has the old grading system?

    • Craig W

      Would love to see Harris/Smith combo. The spot next to Smith has been terrible all year.

    • Mnstorm99

      The best secondary IMO would be Smith and Newman at safety, Rhodes and Waynes on the corners, and Captain in the slot.
      Surprising, it seemed like Palmer was throwing toward Rhodes a lot more. Was Rhodes carrying more single coverage than Waynes? Either way, I thought they both played very well in this one.
      Waynes has played well in limited action all season.
      Not sure we have seen enough from Harris yet, and while he was decent was he really any better than Sendejo?
      Sendejo and Exum are decent backups.
      Blanton is horrible.

      • andy

        Rhodes and Waynes, yeap, if you want to get “toasted” more than often. Good or great players make plays. If Rhodes didn’t drop that pick-six, wonder if the game had a different outcome. Waynes is terrible w/ his techniques. Maybe next year, but they are still in the hunt, would not want to have an “experiment’ at this point. If he is GOOD, then he should have been a starter for a while now.

        • Mnstorm99

          Do you mean the pick six while playing with an injured wrist?

          You might be right about Waynes. But, I still think they are better with him on the field over Sendejo, Exum and Blanton.
          Harris? I don’t know yet. Maybe he is a better option than Waynes.
          That was my point.
          That and, this may be a playoff team, but they are all a year away from being a contender.

          • andy

            Excuses and more excuses about Rhodes. He hasn’t taken the next step and seems to decline this year, instead of getting better. Good or great players, even when they are injured, make plays when needed, that what separates them from the rest. The fact of the matter is when you have a 37-year old corner is your best coverage guy, then you have a problem. Like I’ve said it before regarding to Waynes, if he is that GOOD, then he should have started for them already, not waiting until all the injuries occurred. I would think the coaching staff knows something better than we do. Don’t you think? No, they are not even close as a contender. Very disappointed in TB’s progression this year, even w/ the lousy OL. Norv is not helping him out either w/ some of the asinine play calls flow during the game. Let’s see if Zimm will be a good coach or not. It is an indicator when your team is “reeling” and not playing well and see how they react. They reacted well last night, but they still need to get over the hump of winning “meaningful” games. I still believe it will be between them and Seattle. Need to win against the Bears and Giants at home and probably will lose at GB to finish at 10-6. If they finish at that record, then the chance is good. Teddy needs to play better at home, almost 20 points difference in qb rating road versus home, and AP needs to shut his pipe and stops making idiotic plays. Great physical specimen, not very high football IQ.

        • JH

          “Terrible w/his techniques” You must be talking about pre-season action, cause he’s only seen a handful of reps in regular season (enough probably to total 2 games worth). So in 2 games of reps as a rookie you’ve determined he’s not good? Interesting.
          I’m not doubting he’s been a disappointment thus far (not starting as a 1st rounder is a disappointment), but the jury is still out on whether or not he’ll be a good player.

          • andy

            So if he is “improving” as you think that he is, then why does it take for all the injuries for him to get more reps? When you have a 37-year old corner back is your best coverage guy and you can’t even beat him out, then you have a problem. I didn’t say he is good or not good, I just said if he is as good as you think he is, then why can’t he start? Especially, with his reputation coming out of college as one of the best one-on-one covered guys. But of course, there are lots of busted too for first rounders.

          • JH

            Where did I say he was improving…? (I didnt even elude to that… Just that we havent seen enough to say one way or the other)
            My contention is that just because he isnt starting doesnt mean he isnt “good” in refence to your “if he’s that good he would have started already.” Thats silly reasoning to say that because he hasnt started before injuries it means he isnt good.
            Maybe I’m not understanding what you’re getting at (I could be way off here, if so I apologize). I’d like to see some more games out of him before I make a judgemnet on the kid.

            Since we’re on PFF, Id be remiss to point out the 37 year old CB youre calling out was in the top 40 CBs at least as of 2 games ago he was, so it’s understandable that they’d ride him while he’s hot. I dont care about his age, if he’s playing that well, dont take him out.

          • andy

            O.K. I guess we can go around and around about the context of the word of “good”. Once again, I didn’t say he is good or not good, if he is “good” then shouldn’t he be a starter? That was my question, instead of waiting on the wing for somebody to get injured to get more snaps. Football is a game of skills and talents, if you are good, you will get notice and you will play. These players get “evaluated” mostly in practices. If the coaching staff thinks he can play and replace someone else, they will because they want the best players on the field to help them win. So once again, if he can’t “beat” out those injured players and he is supposed to be a first rounder w/ all the credentials and he can’t even beat out a 37-year older, then what does it say about him? I didn’t call out TN, I just used his name to make a point about Waynes. Regarding to your snarky remark of how good TN is, I don’t have the access to the premium, so I don’t know where he is ranked, but I will take your word for it regarding to his 40th ranking status. But let’s see the logic here, let’s see 2 per teams, discounting the slot, 16 teams. Oh, there are only 32 and he ranks 40th just for 2 games. Yeap, that is really “good” according to your standards. Good grief.

          • JH

            Ok. Agree to disagree. I was no more snarky than you, ya big baby lol. Hes a G.D. rookie, give him a break. And yeah you were calling out TN. Id stick to watching football and avoid coaching if I were you.

          • andy

            Yeap, he is a FIRST ROUND rookie. Yeap, I am calling out TN AFTER the consideration of what your standards of “good” is. Can’t win an argument so start to use foul language. I didn’t know Vikings fans can be unhinged as Raiders fans.

          • JH

            :) I love it! Get fired up Andy. Lets see that intensity, internet tough guy :)

          • andy

            That is kind of funny. One is unhinged and claimed the other is all “fired up”. Intensity? Hum? No, not a tough guy. Just a calm and collective ordinary person, but not a vile Vikings or Raiders fan type. Have a happy and a wonderful Sunday. Make sure to watch the Seahawks against the Ravens, that is my team, the same one that did you know what to your team last week. Cheerio.

          • JH

            Whatever you have to tell yourself. (Smiles) :)

          • andy

            Same to you. You see you can nice if you want to, vile Vikings fan. How about those Seahawks? Want to play us again?

          • JH

            That all you got, come on Andy, keep it coming :) #InternetToughGuy

          • andy

            Sorry busy for the last couple of days. How are you doing, JH? Not quite sure why you keep referring me as internet tough guy. I am not the one who tries to provoke people like someone. Actually, I am a lover and not a fighter. Give peace a chance, JH. Spread some love.I thought Minnesotan are loving people w/ the all descendants from the Scandinavian heritage. Let me ask you again. Would your team like to play us again?

        • Jonathan Seidman

          u can’t drop a pick-six…

          u can drop a potential INT though.

  • SkolBro

    Refs 5-0 against my vikings… be nice to see what we could do without the refs robbing us in every game.
    Skol!

    • Mnstorm99

      How did the refs rob our Vikings in this one? Honestly, I thought the Cards received the only bad call in this game.
      Seattle would have won anyway, so the horrible officiating didn’t change the outcome.
      What are the other three games?

      Complaining about the officiating has become so cliche that I don’t think fans can be objective anymore.

      • enai D

        That facemask on Teddy in the 4th comes to mind, I still don’t know how they missed that, there was a ref standing right there. Everyone watching the game saw it except the refs, I guess. Bad calls go both ways, but the Vikings are on a particularly bad run right now.

        • Seth

          you fail to mention the facemask on palmer on the griffin sack when the cardinals were on the 2 yd line and lost 8 yds due to that sack. There were bad no calls on both sides, don’t act like the cardinals were favored in this game by the refs.

        • Chris Schinkel

          The refs missed one against Palmer in the forth…that happens.
          My Cards have had their share of crappy reffed games this year but yesterdays game was well officiated. The refs were not perfect but they were very good.

      • crosseyedlemon

        It’s not only the fans that get upset with bad officiating. The closer the playoffs get the more the officials seem to want to influence the outcome of games instead of letting the players settle the issue. There was a time when the officials were happy to be invisible but in the Internet age it seems everyone has to have their 15 minutes in the spotlight.

    • Craig W

      Stop posting please. You are an idiot. I think you’re a pack fan trying to make us look stupid.

      • Yvonne Johnson

        the facemask on teddy against the Pack was real and if you look at the picture of the facemask, Teddy has the ball are they not watching the players with the ball that call was missed, and a few plays later hardly touched rodgers and threw a flag the ref were helping the Pack,not sure if that would have changed the game but it was obvious

        • Seth

          Same with the sack for a loss of 6 on the 2 yard line when Griffin got to palmer, Palmer had the ball and Griffin got his facemask, it would have been 1st and goal on the 1 yard line if it was called. Bad calls/no calls happen in every game unfortunately

  • Percy Chuggs

    Anthony Harris dropped an INT in the end zone, and missed tackles on BOTH long Cardinals touchdown passes. Wow, what a stud he is.

    • ChrisMac

      For an UDFA pulled of the practice squad a few days prior to the game, he did pretty well. Go troll somewhere else.

      • Percy Chuggs

        So I am trolling for pointing out facts? The fact that he dropped an INT in the end zone, and then on the very next play allowed himself to get mauled by Fitzgerald and prevent a TD? Or the fact that he completely failed to make even an attempt to tackle John Brown on the Cardinals 1st long touchdown pass? Yeah, ok.

        • ChrisMac

          Dropping a contested ball that the WR had his hands on also? Getting blocked by one of the best downfield blocking WR in the game? Oh my, what a scrub. He showed instincts in run support and the was in decent position in the pass game. You’re the opitime of a troll.

          • Percy Chuggs

            Just because you disagree with someone over how you interpret facts doesn’t make THEM a troll. Get some better material.

          • ChrisMac

            You’re posting nonsense that you know nothing about to get a reaction. I’m the fool for biting on it. Learn the game and then we can talk reasonably.

          • Percy Chuggs

            I bet you played high school football in Texas!

          • Mnstorm99

            I will not fault him for dropping the INT.
            Harris had no fault on the Brown TD.
            But, he showed poor technique on the Floyd TD. He stood flat footed. Fitz is a great downfield blocker, but anyone would have made that block with the way Harris played it.

        • enai D

          Actually, he did pretty much play like a stud considering Harris was taken from the practice squad and forced to start against one of the best offenses in the NFL.

    • Mnstorm99

      I am trying to figure out how Harris got a +3.6 in this game. He seemed in position most of the time, but also made a few glaring mistakes.

  • HeWhoKnowsAll

    I think the Vikings found their other safety. Why was he on the practice squad to begin with? Dude can clearly play.