Vikings fall just short in loss to Broncos

Published 9:35 am Monday, October 5, 2015

DENVER — Teddy Bridgewater said the Vikings needed to be close to “perfect” to win Sunday. They weren’t.

Minnesota lost 23-20 to Denver at Sports Authority Field. Bridgewater was sacked seven times and his fumble in the final minute prevented any chance of a comeback.

“Definitely (it hurts), because we were in this game and had an opportunity to win it,” Bridgewater said. “We were a couple of plays away.”

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Facing second-and-10 at their own 47 with 35 seconds left, Bridgewater dropped back to pass and was stripped of the ball by blitzing safety T.J. Ward. Linebacker Von Miller recovered, and that was it.

Bridgewater was harassed all afternoon by Denver’s rushers. He credited the Broncos, but said there’s also plenty the Vikings must do better.

“This isn’t a finger-pointing session,” Bridgewater said. “We’re going to watch the tape (Monday) and we’re going to make some corrections and go from there. … Maybe if I throw the ball away or something like that, throw the ball in the dirt and live to see another down, avoid some sacks, then maybe we’ll be in a different ballgame.”

Bridgewater had his share of challenges Sunday. Running back Adrian Peterson, coming off two 100-yard games, was bottled up much of the game. He finished with 16 carries for 81 yards, but 48 came on a touchdown run with 10:01 left in the game that cut the deficit to 20-17.

“It does put more pressure on (Bridgewater),” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said of games Peterson doesn’t open things up on the ground. “But we couldn’t block them when we were throwing the ball.”

Bridgewater made the most of a depleted receiving corps. Starter Charles Johnson was out with a ribs injury, and No. 3 receiver Jarius Wright barely played because of an injured right hand and caught no passes.

Stepping up were Mike Wallace, who had eight catches, and rookie Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, who had six receptions each. Bridgewater completed 27 of 41 passes for 269 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown pass to Wallace with 12 seconds left in the first half that closed the margin to 13-10.

“He’s a great quarterback,” Wallace said of Bridgewater. “He just has to have time.”