You would be forgiven if you thought Ryan Fitzpatrick was an easy mark for the Eagles, a second-hand Rose kind of quarterback with limited abilities. But think again. History does not lie. Almost a decade and a half after being drafted 250th overall in his class, the Harvard grad has started over 100 games in the NFL and thrown for over 27,000 yards! At age 35, Fitzpatrick is still capable of slicing and dicing a defense. On a good day, he is way more effective than a much younger but more unpredictable Jameis Winston.
So we thought we’d be getting a break down in Tampa on Sunday with Winston on suspension? Wrong.
Fitzpatrick just threw for 4 TD’s and 400 yards against the Saints. New Orleans was supposed to have a top-flight defense this year, too.
Our resident GateKeeper GK Brizer often reminded us of the problems Fitz consistently brought to the Eagles with his brain over the years.
Looking back at past matchups, we usually prevailed in the end, but it was never easy:
Nothing in this litany of competition would suggest that anything is going to be any easier for the Birds in Tampa this Thursday.
For those of you who are younger readers, perhaps not even born before Fitzpatrick was drafted in the 7th round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams, here is the career path of a potential Eagles assassin:
As is the case for most incoming NFL rookies, Fitzpatrick took the Wonderlic Test. Rumors have indicated that Fitzpatrick recorded a 50 on the test in nine minutes, signifying a perfect score. However, according to a The Wall Street Journal report that appeared in the September 30, 2005, edition, Fitzpatrick scored a 48 on the exam, not a 50—still considered an exceptionally high score, but the claim that he completed the test in nine minutes is accurate. While his actual score is unknown, he has acknowledged that he left at least one question blank. As the Wonderlic score is the number of correct answers to 50 questions, the best he could have scored would be a 49. To date, Fitzpatrick has the highest Wonderlic Test score ever achieved among NFL quarterbacks. The only player to earn a verified perfect score on the Wonderlic test was also a Harvard graduate: wide receiver/punter Pat McInally, who played his entire career with the Cincinnati Bengals.
|Ht||Wt||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 2 in
|4.86 s||1.67 s||2.81 s||4.07 s||7.09 s||30 1⁄2 in
|8 ft 9 in
|All from NFL Combine.|
He played his first NFL game on November 27, 2005 . Coming into the eleventh game of the regular season in the second quarter against the Houston Texans to replace injured veteran journeyman Jamie Martin, Fitzpatrick led the Rams from a 24–3 halftime deficit to a 33–27 overtime win, throwing for 310 yards and three touchdowns, completing 63.3% of his passes and 117.4 QB rating for the game. He earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his effort. This made Fitzpatrick one of only seven players who passed for more 300 yards in their NFL debut. The others were Otto Graham, 346 yards (1950); Ed Rubbert, 334 (a replacement player for the Washington Redskins during the 1987 strike); Mark Rypien, 303 (1988), Peyton Manning, 302 (1998), Cam Newton, 422 (2011), Robert Griffin III, 320 (2012), and Andrew Luck, 309 (2012). The win earned him the next three starts, making Fitzpatrick the first Harvard quarterback to start an NFL game. He was unable to duplicate his debut performance in the games he started with the Rams coming two weeks later in a 13–27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in which he threw for 235 yards, no touchdowns, and five interceptions for a QB rating of 32.4 for the game. He was replaced by Martin after halftime the following week, after struggling in a home game against the Philadelphia Eagles in which he completed just 41.7% of his passes for a total of 69 yards.
In the 2006 season, Fitzpatrick only appeared in one game. In Week 17 against the Minnesota Vikings, he appeared late in the game in relief of Marc Bulger and ran out the clock of the 41–21 victory.
In the 2007 season, Fitzpatrick recorded no meaningful statistics in his third professional season.
On September 1, 2007, Fitzpatrick was traded to the Bengals for a seventh-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. A restricted free agent in the 2008 offseason, Fitzpatrick signed his one-year tender offer from the Bengals on April 17. Due to an injury to starting quarterback Carson Palmer, Fitzpatrick made his first Bengals start on September 28, 2008 against the Cleveland Browns. Fitzpatrick was not only the leading passer, but also the leading rusher in the Bengals’ 20–12 loss. With Carson Palmer sitting out the game on October 12, 2008, Fitzpatrick got the start against the New York Jets, and every other game that season.
Fitzpatrick signed with the Buffalo Bills on February 27, 2009 to a 3-year $7.405 million contract. He made his first appearance on October 18, 2009 against the New York Jets when starter Trent Edwards went down with an injury, leading the Bills to a 16–13 overtime win, while throwing for 116 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Fitzpatrick started the following two games, resulting in a win over the Panthers and loss to the Texans.
On November 18, 2009, he was named the starting quarterback of the Buffalo Bills by interim head coach Perry Fewell who took over the coaching duties after former head coach Dick Jauron was fired. He went 3–3 as a starter under Fewell, throwing seven touchdowns, six interceptions and 1060 yards. Overall, Fitzpatrick went 5–4 in games in which he had a majority of the playing time for a team that finished with a 6–10 record. In week eleven of the 2009 season in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fitzpatrick threw a 98-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens, the longest touchdown reception and pass for both Owens and Fitzpatrick, also setting the team record for longest touchdown pass. The Bills went on to lose to the Jaguars 18–15. Overall, in the 2009 season, Fitzpatrick finished with 1,422 passing yards, nine touchdowns, and ten interceptions.
It goes on and on like that, Fitzpatrick had a breakout season in 2010, recording at least one touchdown pass in 13 consecutive games and becoming the first Bills quarterback to pass for at least 3,000 yards in a season since J. P. Losman in 2006.
In the 2011 season, Fitzpatrick was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for September. On October 28, 2011, Fitzpatrick signed a six-year, $59 million contract extension including a $10 million signing bonus with the Bills. He had three 300-yard performances in the 2011 season, with a season high 369 yards vs. the Patriots. After the 2011 season, it was revealed that Fitzpatrick had broken his ribs in a game against the Washington Redskins, which was presumably a factor in his decline in play over the rest of the season. Fitzpatrick finished the 2011 season with 3,832 yards and 24 touchdowns, but threw a league-leading 23 interceptions.
Fitzpatrick returned as the Bills’ starter during the 2012 season, throwing for 3,400 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. Following Chan Gailey’s firing after the season, the Bills opted not to hold on to Fitzpatrick, releasing him on March 12, 2013.
On March 18, 2013, Fitzpatrick signed a two-year contract with the Tennessee Titans. He replaced Jake Locker for the Titans in Week 4 due to an injury in the third quarter. Fitzpatrick completed 3 of his 8 passes for 108 yards, which included a 77-yard TD pass to Nate Washington, in a 38–13 win against the Jets.
Fitzpatrick played in 11 games and started 9 of them. He finished the season with a 3–6 record as the starting quarterback, beating division rivals the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans in the final two games of the season. He completed the season throwing for 2,454 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Fitzpatrick was released on March 14, 2014, and replaced by Charlie Whitehurst.
On March 18, 2014, Fitzpatrick signed a two-year contract with the Houston Texans. He was named the Texans’ starting quarterback by new Head Coach Bill O’Brien on June 17, but was demoted to second on the Houston Texans depth chart on November 5, 2014, replaced as starter by Ryan Mallett.
On November 23, 2014, Mallett tore his pectoral muscle and Fitzpatrick was renamed the starter. On November 30, 2014 in a 45–21 win against the Tennessee Titans in Week 13, Fitzpatrick threw for a franchise-record six touchdowns and 358 yards with no interceptions and a 147.5 passer rating. He earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his effort against the Titans.
On December 14, 2014 during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts, Fitzpatrick scrambled for a two-yard gain, was tripped up, and ended up with a fractured tibia, ending his season. He was replaced by rookie Tom Savage, who also received a minor injury, and the Texans lost 10–17. Despite his season-ending injury, Fitzpatrick had a solid season, throwing for 2,483 yards with 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions for a career-high 95.3 passer rating. He finished the season with a 6–6 record as the starting quarterback for the Texans.
On March 11, 2015, Fitzpatrick was traded by the Houston Texans to the New York Jets for a late-round conditional draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The move reunited Fitzpatrick with his former Head Coach Chan Gailey, who was hired during the off-season as the Jets offensive coordinator and play-caller. Following an incident in the locker room, where starting quarterback Geno Smith suffered a broken jaw after being attacked by IK Enemkpali, Fitzpatrick was tentatively named the Week 1 starter for the Jets.
Making his first start for the Jets on September 13, 2015 in Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns, he threw for 179 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception in the 31–10 victory. During Monday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2, Fitzpatrick threw for 244 yards with two touchdowns and an interception as the Jets won 20–7. During Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Fitzpatrick threw for 283 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions as the Jets lost 17–24.
In 16 starts of the 2015 season, Fitzpatrick finished with his best year as a pro, 3,905 passing yards and 31 passing touchdowns along with 15 interceptions, breaking Vinny Testaverde‘s 1998 franchise record for most touchdown passes in a season.
A free agent after the conclusion of the 2015 season, Fitz signed a one-year fully guaranteed $12 million contract with the Jets on July 27, 2016. In 14 games (11 starts) of 2016, Fitzpatrick finished with 2,710 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions.
On May 19, 2017, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Fitzpatrick to a one-year, $3 million contract. During the Week 6 game against the Arizona Cardinals, starter Jameis Winston suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter and was relieved by Fitzpatrick, who proceeded to complete 22 of 32 passes for 290 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions as the Buccaneers lost by a score of 38–33.
Overall, in the 2017 season, Fitzpatrick had 1,103 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions.
I guess my point is, don’t take this guy lightly. I don’t think the Eagles will discount him, either. He’s dangerous. If there were an NFL “Hall of Very Good”, Fitz would be in it.