The veteran quarterback was injured after being upended while diving for a first down and landing on his shoulder and head. The Broncos soon announced that Bridgewater has movement in all his extremities and was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation of a head injury.
Coach Vic Fangio said after the game that Bridgewater has checked out well and will remain hospitalized overnight as a precaution.
Drew Lock filled in for Bridgewater, with Denver trailing 9-3. The third-year QB completed his first four passes, including a 25-yard touchdown to Tim Patrick. But the Broncos' lead was brief, as they allowed an immediate TD drive from Cincinnati and their ensuing three offensive possessions resulted in a fumble, punt and turnover on downs.
The 15-10 defeat was Lock's third appearance of the season, and his first since closing out the Broncos' Week 12 loss to the Chargers. Bridgewater was also relieved by Lock in Week 4 after suffering a concussion following a helmet-to-helmet hit with a Ravens defender. That injury interrupted the best start to a season in Bridgewater's career. He struggled Sunday before exiting, completing just 12 of 22 passes for 98 yards while leading only a short field goal drive.
The former first-rounder has been a model of resiliency throughout his career. Bridgewater made a full recovery from a torn ACL that cost him two years of playing time, and he has won starting jobs with three different franchises.
With the loss, the Broncos (7-7) are among a cluster of AFC teams just outside the playoff field.