The Vikings lost to the Cardinals, 23-20, tonight when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater lost a fumble after the Vikings moved into field-goal range.
So why did the Vikings try to throw the ball on third down with 13 seconds remaining and no timeouts instead of just bringing out Blair Walsh?
“I thought about it,” coach Mike Zimmer explained. “I thought about a lot of things. Throwing the ball in the end zone. But we were trying to get the ball out of bounds to get a little closer to kick the field goal and go to overtime.”
So what exactly were they trying to do on that fateful final play, asking Bridgewater to look to one of his receivers who were running from the left side of the field toward the right sideline while playing behind one of the league’s shakiest offensive lines when it comes to pass protection?
“We were trying to throw the ball to the sideline,” Zimmer said. “We told them, ‘Can’t complete the ball in bounds,’ because at 12 to 13 seconds [at the time of the catch] is right at the time that you can spike the ball and get the clock stopped. Can’t complete the ball in bounds and you can’t take a sack.”
But Bridgewater took a sack and lost a fumble to boot. So what did he see?
“The play call was designed to get out of bounds,” Bridgewater said. “We had all of our wide receivers coming from the left side of the field. I tried to do my best to wait for those guys to at least get on the right side of the hash so that they didn’t get tackled in bounds since we didn’t have any timeouts.”
So why didn’t the second-year QB just chuck the ball out of bounds then?
“I had that clock going off in my head,” Bridgewater explained. “Got ready to throw the ball out of bounds but the guy just hit me from behind.”
Game over, and a night with a career-high 335 passing yards was wasted.