No one will confuse Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for Seahawks star Russell Wilson.
Fitzpatrick is a grizzled gunslinger with a lengthy beard. Wilson is a more mobile quarterback who will likely find himself in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
If the 2020 season ended today, Wilson would have an extremely strong case of winning the NFL MVP Award. But, technically speaking, Fitzpatrick — who has the Miami Dolphins quietly preparing for a playoff run, actually plays better than his counterpart in Seattle.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is having a fine 2020
FitzMagic has returned to the NFL.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, as he’s prone to do, appears to have caught fire for the Miami Dolphins. Fitzpatrick has thrown seven touchdowns and just two picks in his last four games after throwing three interceptions in a Week 1 loss to Cam Newton and the Patriots.
Miami split those games and, at 2-3, could soon pass the five wins they totaled last year. Fitzpatrick is completing 70.6% of his passes for 1,344 yards, seven touchdowns, and five interceptions for the season.
Turning 38 in November, Fitzpatrick is also averaging 5.5 yards per on 24 carries and scored two rushing touchdowns.
The analytics are grading Fitzpatrick well
Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t just excelling in the traditional stats like completion percentage and touchdowns.
The analytics have been favorable to Fitzpatrick, in large part because of his game-managing skills. Fitzpatrick completed an even 90% of his passes in a Week 3 victory over the Jaguars.
Fitzpatrick went 22-of-28 for 350 yards and three touchdowns in a Week 5 rout over the 49ers. When the first half ended, Fitzpatrick had a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3; he finished the game at 154.5.
Pro Football Focus initially named Fitzpatrick to its Week 5 team of the week. The analytics-based outlet later replaced Fitzpatrick with Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, technically, is playing better than Russell Wilson
If the 2020 season ended today, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson would have a strong chance of winning the NFL MVP Award.
Fitzpatrick, at this point, likely wouldn’t even receive a vote. But at least one advanced metric says Fitzpatrick is playing better than Wilson right now.
ESPN introduced the ‘QBR’ metric, or the total quarterback rating, in 2011. The metric uses context far more than a traditional quarterback rating does.
Green Bay star Aaron Rodgers leads the NFL with a 92.5 QBR. Fitzpatrick’s 82.6 QBR is fifth in the league, just above Wilson’s 81 QBR.
According to The Palm Beach Post, Fitzpatrick said he prefers ESPN’s QBR because it is a metric which relies on context.
“All the stats you can kind of accumulate when you’re behind are meaningless stats. I think being able to avoid negative plays, sacks and those sorts of things, are important for a quarterback. I think even just the running and the scrambles and things like that, there are a lot of things it takes into account that don’t show up on the stat sheet or they weight stats based on how important it is in the game.”
Objectively and using the eye test, Wilson is having an elite season and is ready to lead Seattle back to a Super Bowl. The majority of football players, analysts, and fans would scoff at the notion Fitzpatrick is playing better than WIlson.
That is what makes statistics so fun, though. According to one reliable metric, Fitzpatrick is also having an elite season and should be right up there with Wilson among the quarterbacks having terrific 2020 campaigns.
All stats courtesy of ESPN.