ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has sat in plenty of team meetings in his eight-year career, and had plenty of his mistakes or turnovers rolled out for his teammates to see.
But Bridgewater said Monday that the Broncos’ latest film session, which included his lack of an attempt to tackle Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay on an 83-yard fumble return for a touchdown, was the toughest to sit through.
“It definitely was, especially when you slow it down,” Bridgewater said. “In real time it’s like everything’s happening fast, you’ve got the sideline to your advantage … and then when you slow it down with the clicker in your hand, it’s like man, this is bad. … Hopefully I never have to be put in that situation again, and if I am make sure that I lay it all on the line.”
The Broncos had plenty of problems to sift through after Sunday’s 30-13 loss, but Bridgewater’s play had become the social media flashpoint in the hours following the loss, which dropped the Broncos to 5-5 as they enter their bye week.
On fourth-and-1 from the Eagles’ 23-yard line on the last play of the third quarter with Philadelphia leading 20-13, Broncos running back Melvin Gordon slammed into the pile for what appeared to be a first down by the slimmest of margins. However, Eagles linebacker Davion Taylor pulled the ball free and Slay scooped it up at the Eagles’ 17-yard line.
After Slay initially bobbled the ball, he scooped it up a second time, and circled back all the way to the Eagles’ 11-yard line. Slay then spun and started toward the left sideline, as Broncos tight end Eric Saubert couldn’t quite reel in Slay to bring him down at about the Eagles’ 28-yard line.
As Slay passed the Eagles’ 40-yard line with Gordon in pursuit, Bridgewater was standing at the Eagles’ 42-yard line between Slay and the Eagles’ sideline. Slay passed, in full stride, in front of Bridgewater, who didn’t make a tackle attempt.
“I’m right there, the opportunity to just dive, sacrifice, do whatever I can to help the team, and in that moment I failed,” Bridgewater said. “I own up to it. … That’s one of those moments I have to own up to the fact I didn’t give everything I had in me on that play.”
Defensive end Shelby Harris was asked what he and his teammates thought after seeing the play in the meeting as well.
“I’m with my quarterback and I’m going to ride with him,” Harris said.
For Vic Fangio’s part, the Broncos coach said: “I’d like to see us all pursue it a little bit better offensively and find a way to get that guy down. Where Teddy got involved … I’d like to see Teddy make a play at the guy.”
Fangio was also asked about ESPN NFL analyst Rex Ryan, who was on the Baltimore Ravens staff with Fangio for three seasons, offering on air Monday morning that Bridgewater should have been benched after the play.
“I respect Rex and his opinion, but I don’t agree with him at this point,” Fangio said.
Fangio also said backup Drew Lock will not replace Bridgewater after the bye and that “Teddy is our quarterback.”
“We watched it [Monday] as a team, coach pointed it out, that hey, my effort had to be better there, and I totally agree,” Bridgewater said. “That’s not, you know, the type of tape 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, you know guys are out there trying to make a play and … when you slow it down it’s like man, just give more effort. … I just needed to just lay it all out. … I’m not going to sink in my chair or feel bad coach called me out, I take full ownership.”