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Teddy Bridgewater ties career-high 4 TDs in Saints' win

UniqueThis 4 Oct 6
4:30 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS -- Teddy Bridgewater matched his career high with four touchdown passes on Sunday while throwing for 314 yards in the New Orleans Saints' 31-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 26-year-old reached both of those milestones for the first time since recovering from a major 2016 knee injury suffered while with the Minnesota Vikings -- increasing both his future free-agency prospects and the Saints' Super Bowl hopes in the process.

The Saints (4-1) are now remarkably 3-0 with Bridgewater as their starter following Drew Brees' thumb surgery. And the home crowd responded with chants of "Ted-dy! Ted-dy!" throughout the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after each one of the TD passes.

Brees, who posted videos of himself throwing a football on social media Saturday, could be back by the end of the month. But Bridgewater is ensuring that he doesn't have to rush.

Bridgewater completed 26 of 34 passes with four TDs and one interception Sunday -- while relying heavily on receiver Michael Thomas in the process.

Thomas caught 11 passes for 182 yards and two TDs. Tight end Jared Cook and receiver Ted Ginn Jr. caught the other two scores.

The Saints' game plans were much more conservative in Bridgewater's first two starts at Seattle (because of crowd noise and weather) and vs. Dallas (because of the Cowboys' defense). So Bridgewater faced some criticism over his lackluster statistics after he failed to reach 200 passing yards in either game.

But Bridgewater joked with a reporter on the subject earlier this week when asked about the deep ball, saying, "You sound like social media," and admitting he had to tell his mom to get off social media.

"I base everything around my past couple years," Bridgewater said after last week's win over Dallas. "The past couple years I had zero stats. The stat box said zero in every column. But the one stat that did add up for me the past couple years were the Ws. I was winning in life. So I approach the game with that mindset.

"Like, man, I'm not playing this game for numbers. I don't care to impress anyone. Sorry to fantasy teams and things like that. But I play this game for those guys in that locker room, and we all come in here with one thing on our mind ... winning games."

Bridgewater is impressing, though, after the Saints made him the highest-paid backup in the NFL on a one-year deal worth $7.25 million plus incentives this past offseason. So as the wins pile up, so do his chances of either becoming Brees' long-term successor in New Orleans or earning some lucrative offers elsewhere around the league in March.