EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 16: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills passes against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on October 16, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Buffalo Bills fans are placing a lot of blame for yesterday's loss to the New York Giants at the feet of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw two interceptions on two very similar routes to help hand New York a winnable football game.
I'm in a reflective mood today - the bye week will do that to you - and as such, I find it rather remarkable that Bills fans are questioning the long-term viability of a quarterback that just completed 70 percent of his passes at 8.1 yards per attempt with two touchdowns against one of the NFL's best pass rushes. On the road. After the team lost or moved four of his top receivers from training camp.
No, Fitzpatrick has not been perfect this season, but expecting perfection from a quarterback like Fitzpatrick is asinine. We're talking about a guy who two years ago threw for 98 yards in a Bills win in Kansas City, and who before this year had a single-game quarterback rating under 70 eight times in 22 meaningful games with Buffalo. This season, his rating hasn't slipped below 75.5 in a single game, he's completing two-thirds of his pass attempts, his yards-per-attempt average has reached acceptable range, and the Bills are a still-surprising 4-2 thanks largely to his play.
Folks, relax. Fitzpatrick is the real deal. He's not perfect, but Chan Gailey is right: he's a winning quarterback. Yesterday was another excellent outing for him that lost its luster thanks to two negative plays.