It's a common thing to read around here, that Fitz has an issue with consistency. It's often even referred to as his biggest flaw. An impediment that stands in between what Fitz has been and what he could be. I'm writing this because it's the highest mountain I can yell from, that there is a serious flaw in this "consistency is the issue" line of thinking.
Average and even bad quarterbacks have good games regularly. Take a look at some of the mediocre QBs who had been starters, but have been relegated to top notch backups recently like Kyle Orton or Jason Campbell. Look at the careers of current starters like Matt Cassel or Mark Sanchez or even QBs who were draft busts like our new backup, Tarvaris Jackson, or the almost was going to be Bills' backup, Vince Young. They all have their fair share of good games. They have good stretches lasting several games and they have bad stretches lasting several games. look at the game logs for some mediocre QBs and do a side by side comparison to Fitzpatrick. Are we to then come to the conclusion that the problem with every average or worse quarterback is inconsistency?
Of course, Ryan Fitzpatrick does suffer from inconsistency. But leaving it at that is ignoring the root problem. Inconsistency is just a symptom of the real problem. That real problem being that he's simply not all that good of a quarterback. Fitz isn't an average QB because he's inconsistent. He's inconsistent because he's nothing more than an average quarterback.
The idea that inconsistency is the issue doesn't work on a logical level. Think of consistency in terms of sports or positions that are even more easily judged by statistics. Does an NFL kicker end up with a higher percentage of field goals made from 40-49 yards than another kicker every year because that kicker is more consistent? Or is that kicker more consistent simply because he's better? Would anybody ever look at one of those fringe roster type kickers and think: "If only that kicker was more consistent in making kicks, he'd be pretty good. I wonder if he can be coached to be more consistent?" Does a baseball player hit .50 points higher than his teammate every year because he's more consistent or does he end up with more hits at the end of the year because he's just a better batter?
That's the basic gist of it, but here are some facts and numbers to show just how important top notch QB play is:
In the Super Bowl era of quarterbacking (since the 1966 season), there have been 99 QBs who have finished in the top five of the league in yards per pass attempt. 27 of those QBs have won a Super Bowl.
Think about that, a little over 27% of all the quarterbacks who have ever finished in the top 5 in yards per pass attempt have won a Super Bowl. And that list includes active players who haven't won a SB, but could like Phil Rivers, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub and Matt Ryan.
In 46 years of the Super Bowl era, how many quarterbacks have failed to finish in the top 5?
Only two QBs have won a Super Bowl without ever finishing in the top 5 of ypa (Trent Dilfer and Doug Williams)
95.7% of all Super Bowls have been won by QBs who had at least one finish in the top 5 of ypa during their career.
Ryan Fitzpatrick's yards per attempt numbers in Buffalo? 6.8 in 2010, 6.7 in 2011 and surprise, surprise, 6.8 so far this year. Even in Brian's recent article about hot and cold Fitz, he has his yards per attempt number since the first half of the Jets game at 7.1. That 7.1 number would have seen him finish 17th last year. More incredibly, the hot start of Ryan Fitzpatrick last season, through the Washington game, would have led to a finish of 13th at 7.6. That is just how far behind Fitz and the Bills passing offense is at effieciently moving the ball down the field on a per pass attempt basis.