For the kids of South Florida, however, the two players are an example of how a career can flourish.
“Lamar – he’s a spectacular player, and you can’t do anything but say good about him,” Bridgewater said. “It’s great that he and I get to face each other for the first time. It will be important for South Florida. The next Teddy Bridgewater and Lamar Jackson – they can hook up this Sunday and just see two guys from the same Les background and the same upbringing compete. At the same time, I don’t mean Teddy Bridgewater or Lamar Jackson. It’s a team sport, and I’m sure Lamar would say the same. team sport. There are 10 other guys out there when we compete, so we don’t want to get carried away and stuff. We both have a job to do. That’s what it is . “
On the field, their games are quite different. Jackson leads the NFL in yards per carry and yards per achievement, while Bridgewater has been masterful in completing passes and distributing football to his receivers.
Jackson has scored a passing or grounding touchdown in 39 straight games, marking the fifth longest streak in NFL history – and it’s his ability to extend plays that can create problems.
“The first three seconds of the game won’t necessarily be the problem,” safety half Justin Simmons said Wednesday. “It’s the next three, four, five, six seconds that creates a big problem for any defense. Nine times out of 10, you’ll be able to deal with concepts and communicate these things – especially with our defense – but that’s it. is what he creates afterward. Then he gets to that backyard football. Receivers are so good at finding ways to open up for him, and he’s good at extending games with his legs . If he’s not there, he can easily run for 20-, 30, 40 and more yards to get what they need. It’s going to be a big challenge for us this week as we hustle the passer and defend the pass. as secondary in general. If we are to win on Sunday, the defense is going to have to be extraordinary. “
Jackson’s passing stats have been pretty poor for three weeks – 253.7 yards per game, a 60.9 completion percentage, three touchdowns, three interceptions, eight sacks and a quarterback rating of 86.4 –But he continues to be a threat on the field, where he’s averaged 7.2 yards per carry, 83.7 yards per game and has scored a pair of touchdowns.
Bridgewater, meanwhile, averaged 275.7 passing yards and completed 76.8% of his passes for four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 116.4 quarterback rating.
If there’s one specific area where Bridgewater has beaten Jackson this season, it’s against the blitz. Bridgewater completed 19 of 22 passes for 236 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 150.9 quarterback rating against an extra rusher, according to Stats Inc. This passer rating is second behind Kyler Murray of the Arizona.
Jackson, by comparison, ranks 30th in the passer standings against the blitz, as he completed 8 of 14 passes for 110 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, four sacks and a 66.7 rating.
Bridgewater’s prowess against the blitz should help, as the Ravens have beaten any team’s eighth most times this season, according to Pro Football Reference. And historically, the Ravens have been among the league’s leaders in sending out blitzes.
“He has a good idea of the pre-snap where it could come from,” head coach Vic Fangio said of Bridgewater’s success against the blitz on Wednesday. “If he doesn’t, he has an innate ability to react to anything that might surprise him, and he’s calm. He doesn’t rush decisions. He’s calm under duress, and it pays.”
The Broncos will certainly hope it pays off on Sunday, as Bridgewater faces off against fellow Cardinals alum. And while Bridgewater has played down the one-on-one match, there’s no doubt their similar trips will be of primary interest.
On Sunday, Bridgewater and the Broncos hope their paths diverge again – and Bridgewater’s lead to a victory in Denver.