Less than 24 hours after the Bills snapped their 7-game losing streak, I got to thinking… just how bad is Fitzpatrick? He certainly didn’t do anything to help his team with yesterday; though, to his credit, he didn’t do anything that could have helped them lose either.
So, I decided to check out his ranking on NFL.com – line by line, stat by stat. And here it is:
Passer Rating: 80.7 (18th – Middle of the Pack)
This is where most fans would expect Fitzpatrick to be slotted. He’s not quite as high as Rivers/Eli Manning, but several slots above Sanchez/Flacco. Not bad.
Completion Percentage: 62.0% (9th – Top of the Pack)
This is a surprising ranking for a quarterback that so many people view as inaccurate, behind only a few of the most elite quarterbacks in the league. Perhaps it is the quick passing attack that has benefited Fitzpatrick this year, but 62% is very solid.
Passing Yards: 3525 (11th – Top of the Pack)
He has thrown for more yards than 2/3 of the league, and is on pace for nearly 4000. He has gotten quite a few of these yards in garbage time during the losing streak, and his ranking is boosted by the fact that he hasn’t been injured (yards/game rank is 16th). However, no one expected him to throw for 5000 yards, so it’s not a bad season for him in this way.
Yards/Attempt: 6.7 (22nd – Middle of the Pack)
The Bills’ offense is based on short passes. So, to see him tied with Flacco/Dalton isn’t bad. Top 10 passers were all above 7.8.
Touchdowns: 22 (10th – Top of the Pack)
Hard to believe that Fitz would be in the top 10 in touchdowns, given the Bills’ fondness for getting stuck in the redzone.
Interceptions 19 (Tied for Last – Bottom of the Pack)
Worth noting that he is tied with Rivers, Grossman, and Freeman, and is only one spot behind Eli Manning. He needs to be more consistent with the ball, but many of the “elite” QBs in the league struggle with ints from time to time (Roethlisberger, Stafford, Manning, Rivers are all in the top 10 for most interceptions this year, each with at least 14).
Passes of 20 yards or more: 45 (11th – Top of the Pack)
Surprising statistic given the Bills’ offensive philosophy.
Sacks: 20 (5th – Top of the Pack)
Fitz is behind Shaub, Painter, Hasselbeck and Palmer, 4 QBs that have all missed chunks of time this season. The fast-paced offensive attack of the Bills is largely responsible for the success of the Bills in avoiding sacks.
Average Ranking: 14th – Middle of the Pack
In summary, Fitz has had a good year. He is above average in many of the categories, and falls into the bottom 3rd of the league only in interceptions, a statistic which has many elite QBs in the bottom 3rd, and a bunch of lesser QBs in the top 10 (Alex Smith, Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Matt Moore). If we were to draft a quarterback, we would be at least 2 or 3 years away from success, and would have no guarantee that we would ever see numbers reaching into the top half of the league (see: Sam Bradford, Kevin Kolb, Colt McCoy, Josh Freeman, Mark Sanchez – all recent high draft picks that have failed to get into the top half of the league in passing in most categories). Fitz is a smart game-manager, and in my view he is well worth the $8 million we are slated to pay him next year.