That sprained left ankle was not about to spoil Teddy Bridgewater's first career start for the Minnesota Vikings.
"He's going to get an MRI," Coach Mike Zimmer said, deadpanning, "but I told him he's fine."
Bridgewater didn't finish what he started, but he was good enough that his departure didn't matter. The rookie passed for 317 yards and a key 2-point conversion, and the Vikings rode a resurgent running game to beat the Atlanta Falcons 41-28 on Sunday in Minneapolis.
"I was confident in the play calling. I was confident in the guys. And I felt that they were still confident in me," said Bridgewater, who completed 19 of 30 passes with no turnovers and ran five times for 27 yards and a touchdown.
His last carry came early in the fourth quarter with the Vikings trailing by a point. Bridgewater's left foot rolled when he tried to cut as he was taken down at the 1-yard line. Matt Asiata scored on fourth down, and Bridgewater stayed in to zip a crisp pass to Rhett Ellison for the 2-point conversion to push the lead to 35-28.
The first-round draft pick out of the University of Louisville limped off the field and was taken for X-rays, which were negative. After the Vikings defense forced the Falcons to punt for a second straight time, Christian Ponder took over at quarterback the rest of the way.
Asked if he worried about the injury as he was driven away on the cart, he said, "Not at all."
Was there a point during the game when he settled down and became more comfortable?
"Actually, before the ball was even kicked off," a smiling Bridgewater replied.
Woodyard gets INT in loss
Former University of Kentucky star Wesley Woodyard led the Tennessee Titans with nine tackles in a 41-17 loss at Indianapolis. Six of Woodyard's tackles were solo and he also had the sixth interception of his career.
"It all goes hand in hand — you've got to pressure and you've got to man up in your coverage," Woodyard told The Tennesseean. "Pressure is what causes a quarterback to bust, and that's something we have to continue to work on."
Titans teammate and fellow ex-Cat Avery Williamson had seven tackles. Six of those were solo.
Former Paducah Tilghman standout George Wilson added eight tackles.
"We liked the way we finished the first half (only down 20-10) and we felt like if we got some momentum going into start the second half — get a turnover or get off the field on third down — we could turn it into a one-score game," Wilson told the newspaper. "That was obviously our play going into the second half, but it didn't end up working out that way."
49ers' Johnson scores TD
Former UK star Stevie Johnson made a double-toe-tap in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown in the San Francisco 49ers' 26-21 win at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Johnson's first TD for his hometown team also pushed him past the 4,000-yard receiving mark for his career.
■ Former U of L linebacker Preston Brown, a rookie with the Buffalo Bills, had a team-high nine tackles in a 23-17 loss to the Houston Texans.
■ New York Jets rookie safety Calvin Pryor (U of L) left the team's game early with a thigh injury and did not return. He had three tackles and half a QB sack before getting hurt.
■ Mike Mitchell (Highlands) totaled six tackles and William Gay had four in the Pittsburgh Steelers' 27-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.