Don’t count out New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick just yet. Just as he did in 2015, he may just surprise you.It was Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. On this day, only one fan base in the NFL was feeling excruciating yet familiar pain — those special, lovable individuals who root for the New York Jets.
Thanks to the Thursday night nature of the game, only the Jets could feel the pain of a loss on that night, and only fans of the green and white could feel the true sting of this pain, for it was Rex Ryan who let out a huge roar on the Buffalo Bills sideline once the game’s conclusion had finally come to fruition.
Suddenly, Rex’s 5-4 Bills not only caught up to Todd Bowles‘s 5-4 Jets but now owned the tiebreaker. Worse was the fact the entire country had a chance to witness it (aside from the colorblind, as that particular night’s Color Rush matchup of green and red did them no favors).
While the loss itself was horrid, watching one man face the music on that podium after the game was quite disturbing.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, still wearing full pads and that awful neon green colored jersey, faced the media after his bitterly disappointing night consisting of 193 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions finally concluded.
He didn’t make excuses. He faced the music, owned up to his poor night and moved on with his football-playing life.
It ultimately led to Fitzpatrick throwing 31 touchdowns and winning 10 games. As many times as you can claim he’s disappointed you while a Jet is double the amount of times he’s exceeded expectations.
Just when you thought he was done, he pulls you back in with thrilling wins against the New York Giants and New England Patriots.
You can never count Ryan Fitzpatrick out, and it would be silly to after just four games in 2016.
First and foremost, maintain perspective on what’s transpired thus far. In Week 1, a game the Jets should have won at MetLife Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals, Fitz played a solid brand of ball. He wasn’t terrific, but he wasn’t atrocious either. He finished 19-of-35 for 189 yards, two touchdowns and a late interception coming on a last-gasp effort to move into field goal range with very little time left.
In Week 2, he dominated Rex’s Bills. Granted, Ryan called a stubborn game defensively, in providing his secondary zero help, but Fitz’s stellar 374 night rocked the pro football nation.
We then come to the last two weeks — games that had Fitzpatrick and the Jets offense matched up against, perhaps, the two best secondaries in the league. We know what went down. Fitz struggled early and often against the Kansas City Chiefs but ultimately threw six total interceptions. Against Seattle, he threw three more equalling a whopping nine over the last two games.
On the season, Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for 1,012 yards, four touchdowns, a league-leading 10 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 57.6. This is hardly a stellar line.
Again, though, perspective is the key word of the moment.
Think of the names in the secondary the Jets have faced this season. Names such as Richard Sherman, Marcus Peters, Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Stephon Gilmore are some of the top defensive back talents this league has to offer. Derrick Johnson and Bobby Wagner are no slouches in the linebacker department. The Seahawks currently rank fourth in the NFL in pass defense, the Bengals 10th, the Chiefs 11th, and the Bills come in at a paltry 17th.
There hasn’t been a single breather for the Jets passing game. The Jets 26th ranked passing defense hasn’t allowed the offense a comfortable time in playing tied or with the lead for most of the season.
Another topic to keep in mind is the idea that many of Fitz’s six interceptions in K.C. were due to his gunslinger type mentality. He simply did not care about adding on to his high interception number in the 4th-quarter. He just wanted to do whatever he could in getting New York back in the game. That and the notion that three or four of his total 10 picks are a direct result of receiver drops provides another element to his poor play.
Please, don’t be confused, though. These aren’t excuses. This is simply an effort to keep perspective. No QB has been worse than Fitzpatrick through four games.
At the same time, didn’t we already know this is what Ryan Fitzpatrick is?
He’s not a stud quarterback. In no way, shape or form would anybody confuse the 33-year old journeyman with a franchise guy.
Therefore, when we realize this is exactly what Fitzpatrick is, shouldn’t we also understand he’s going to bounce back?
Don't bury Ryan Fitzpatrick yet. He may just surprise you … again.#NYJ #NYJvsPIT pic.twitter.com/fJHDkAOlZS
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) October 7, 2016
This is what he does. Never dominating, Fitz suffers through poor games and excitable moments. He takes fans to the edge of insanity while picking them up a week later with unreal euphoria. No better example of this can be presented than his topsy-turvy 2015 season.
This week, Fitz and Jets travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers — the dominating 3-1 Steelers coming off a rout of the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.
Remember, though, to keep perspective. While these Steelers look to be a juggernaut on offense with Le’Veon Bell back in tow with his boys, Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, Mike Tomlin’s defense isn’t stellar. In fact, Pitt’s pass defense is downright terrible, ranking 30th in the league (316.5 yards per game).
There’s nobody in that secondary who scares any QB. Mike Mitchell is a solid veteran strong safety and Robert Golden is alright at the free safety spot, but Ross Cockrell and William Gay make up one of the worst starting cornerback duos in the NFL.
There is no reason Ryan Fitzpatrick shouldn’t have one of his familiar bounce back games, Eric Decker or not.
Fear the Steelers, yes, but don’t fear them from a defensive perspective; and certainly, don’t ever count No. 14 out. This week against Pittsburgh is the perfect game for Ryan Fitzpatrick to, yet again, shock New York Jets fans.