The Miami Dolphins have given rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa every chance to develop this season, but they’ve relied on Ryan Fitzpatrick, alias “Fitzmagic” as their closer in the clutch. They won’t be able to count on Fitzpatrick against the Buffalo Bills this weekend, though—as Fitzpatrick tested positive for COVID-19, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport.
Because of the positive test, Fitzpatrick will miss what would’ve been his ninth game against his former team. Fitzpatrick started his team’s first six games before being benched for Tagovailoa, but Dolphins coach Brian Flores has had a quick hook. Fitzpatrick was a major factor in three other games in the second half of the season. The rookie has avoided major mistakes, with ten touchdowns and only two interceptions, but he’s been criticized for taking safe plays that limit the offense. Fitzpatrick, as Bills fans are very aware, is a much more exciting rollercoaster. On behalf of the Bills fans who fondly remember his years in Orchard Park, Buffalo Rumblings wants to wish Fitzpatrick a full and speedy recovery from any coronavirus symptoms.
All things considered, we won’t know about Buffalo’s plans for this game until the weekend. But Fitzpatrick’s absence makes Buffalo’s ultimate start-sit decision even more complicated. For instance:
- Keep in mind that, if the Bills win on Sunday, their most likely Wild Card opponent (in terms of raw percentage) would be the Dolphins, again. We already talked about how Miami is near the top of our “power rankings” of potential opponents.
- Fitzpatrick, depending on his recovery, may not be available at that point, leaving Miami with Tagovailoa and Jake Rudock on the roster for the Wild Card. That’s another competitive advantage.
- The Bills may feel that, with their defense and depth, they’re capable of winning a grind-it-out low-scoring battle with the Dolphins, even with their backups. So this might give them more incentive to play lots of Matt Barkley.