5 studs and duds from the Panthers’ loss vs. Saints in Week 17

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /

Teddy Bridgewater – Carolina Panthers QB

If Teddy Bridgewater was skating on thin ice before Sunday’s game against the Saints, then it has just about cracked at this juncture. The quarterback’s confidence is clearly shattered and whether his foot injury made their decision easier or not, the Carolina Panthers were right to bench him in favor of P.J. Walker.

Bridgewater’s decision-making and ability to protect the football were two of the main components that brought him to Carolina in the first place. But he simply hasn’t lived up to expectations of late and ending on this sort of note is only going to heighten speculation surrounding his long-term future during the offseason.

His rash throws in the red zone resulted in two interceptions which completely swung momentum in New Orleans’ favor. This is something that’s been especially evident in Bridgewater’s play throughout the campaign and is not the production the Panthers need from their signal-caller if they want to take another step forward in 2021.

The former first-round pick completed 56.52 percent of his passes for 176 passing yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions, and a lowly QBR of 28.6.

Bridgewater is probably past the point of no return in his bid to convince people he can become Carolina’s starter long-term. But the organization’s decision to hand the player a three-year, $63 million deal with $33 million guaranteed when he hadn’t been a prominent starter since 2015 might mean they’re stuck with him for the time being.