In an interview with the Vikings Entertainment Network on Friday, his first day as a Viking at Winter Park, quarterback
Bridgewater says the nickname followed him as he came out of high school. I don’t know what exactly Bridgewater did in high school to earn that nickname, but I do know he more than earned the nickname “GUMP” while playing quarterback at Louisville.
As a starter over three seasons at Louisville, Bridgewater authored a record of 29-8 and collected gaudy statistics, throwing for just under 10,000 yards and generating 78 touchdowns. Perhaps more impressive, though, is the fact that Bridgewater remained just as efficient and productive in the biggest moments.
In the red zone: In 2013, Bridgewater had a 17-0 touchdown-interception ratio in the red zone with a 113.0 NFL passer rating.
On critical downs: On 3rd and 4th downs in 2013, Bridgewater was a 68.0% passer with a 14-1 ratio and a 133.1 rating.
Versus the blitz: Per ESPN Stats & Information, Bridgewater completed 53.5 % of his throws under duress in 2013, with a 7-1 ratio; he also completed 70.1% of his attempts against pass rushes of five blitzers or more.
When tied or trailing in the 4th quarter: When tied or trailing by 7 or less in the 4th quarter during 2013, Bridgewater completed 75.0% of his passes with two touchdown and no interceptions for a passer rating of 126.9.
Vikings GM Rick Spielman addressed this very topic during the press conference he held following the selection of Bridgewater.
“Every time I had exposure to him and when you watch the tape and with [Coach Mike Zimmer] and Coach (Norv) Turner and Scott Turner, he just seemed to have that knack of when he’s in pressure situations in the game, being able to come through it.
“We did a very analytical study on all of these quarterbacks. One of the things that really stuck out to us of all the quarterbacks is he was the best against the blitz. So he’s very cool and calm under pressure.”
There are plenty of other anecdotes I could cite to strengthen the argument, such as his 2-0 record and 116.4 passer rating in bowl games the past two seasons, or the fact that his completion percentage and passer rating vs. the blitz in the games I watched on tape were identical to his numbers for the 2013 season.
But you get the point: When the pressure rises, so does Bridgewater’s performance.