Ryan Fitzpatrick has had a long career as a journeyman quarterback, moving in and out of several starting lineups for many NFL teams. However, the 37-year-old QB shows he’s still got a little left in the tank. He demonstrated this with a night that, while under the radar, put him in elite company. It showed why the mythical Fitzmagic excites fans to this day.
The Ryan Fitzpatrick experience
Nothing came easy for Fitzpatrick coming out of Harvard. While the school is notable for its academic achievements, their athletic ones are few and far between. Long before Jeremy Lin put the school’s sports department on the map, however, it was Fitzpatrick who rose from the obscurity of Harvard athletics to get into the NFL. However, that wasn’t as easy as other rags-to-riches quarterbacks.
The 250th overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, Fitzpatrick spent much of his first three seasons on the bench. Starting just three games in as many years and appearing in only six, no one knew what to make about the young quarterback. In 2008, however, he got his first glimpse as a starter. Fitzpatrick led several offenses from Cincinnati to Buffalo, Tennessee, Houston, and New York, although the wins were a concern.
Fitzpatrick was never a polished quarterback. Even his good years, such as his 2011 season with 24 throwing touchdowns, are bogged down by 23 interceptions. However, his most effective season, the 2015 campaign with the Jets, saw Fitzpatrick performing like a star. Despite being well into his thirties, Fitzpatrick threw for almost 4,000 yards for 31 touchdowns and only 15 interceptions. It was his best year as a quarterback.
The years since have been an amalgamation of bench years with the occasional start and sub-par years as a full-time starter. After a relatively good 2019 campaign in which he started 13 games for the Dolphins, Fitzpatrick is back in a starting role. He celebrated with a memorable performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Fitzpatrick makes history
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When one thinks of NFL legends like Walter Payton, they don’t likely think of players like Fitzpatrick as comparisons. For at least one night, however, Fitzpatrick did just that. During the Dolphins 31-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fitzpatrick showed a little bit of extra magic en-route to the decisive victory.
He threw for 160 yards on 18 for 20 passing but did so for two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 38 yards and rushed in for a touchdown, too. To make things even more perplexing, he also caught a pass, making him the oldest player to do so since Tom Brady did at 41. Fitzpatrick has always been something of a cult figure in the NFL, and performances like this seal the deal.
He was the first quarterback since Payton to have two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, twenty rushing yards, and a reception in the same game, according to CBS Sports. However, despite the excellent performance, the Dolphins season isn’t going as well as Fitzpatrick’s game went.
How are the Dolphins doing?
Despite the bit of Fitzmagic that the Dolphins got in week two, the franchise’s history of mediocrity appears to be in full swing. Through no fault of Fitzpatrick’s, the team has struggled to find consistent offense through the first three games and sits at a 1-2 record. All hope isn’t lost, however.
While the team’s offensive struggles are a concern, they boast a top-ten defense in the early season. Whether Fitzpatrick’s performance was an albatross, it showed how impressive Fitzpatrick can still be late in his career.
However long he sticks around the NFL, Fitzpatrick’s lack of accolades, both personal and team-oriented, should not be held against how unlikely his story was. He might not be a star quarterback, but 15 years after getting drafted, he continues to show why he made it where he is today.