Ryan Fitzpatrick is off to a hot start with the surprising Buffalo Bills. Fitz has a pretty unique story en route to a starting gig in the NFL.
Buffalo Bills‘ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to have a flare for the dramatic. Fitzpatrick was drafted by quarterback guru Mike Martz in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL draft. The St. Louis Rams were set at the QB position (or so they thought) with highly touted Marc Bulger.
Anyone who knows Martz recognizes that he is always looking for the next QB to develop. For example, he sculpted Kurt Warner into a super bowl MVP and developed Bulger into a pro bowl quarterback.
Fitzpatrick is a Harvard graduate. He threw for 39 touchdowns and rushed for 16 more during his collegiate career. Fitzpatrick has always been able to score points.
After Martz was fired in St. Louis, new head coach Scott Linehan shipped the versatile QB to Cincinnati for a 7th round draft pick. No one quite understood the move, but then again…no one understood a lot of moves made by Linehan.
I will never forget a game in 2005 when Fitzpatrick got his chance to play. It came against the Houston Texans. Bulger had been sidelined with a shoulder injury and the #2 QB on the depth chart, Jaime Martin, was ineffective. Down 24-3 at halftime, the Rams turned to Fitzpatrick to finish the day.
Fitzpatrick led the team to the most thrilling comeback victory I have ever witnessed. Fitzpatrick threw TD passes of 19, 43, and 56 yards. The Rams had some incredible luck in the 2nd half; 4th down conversions, a fumble recovery after a Fitzpatrick interception, an onside kick, a fumble that trickled out of bounds to save possession, and a defensive stand in overtime.
It is not shocking to see the success Fitzpatrick is enjoying as a starter in Buffalo. He always had a fluid, accurate arm and just enough speed to worry about him taking off for a big gain. So far, the Bills are 2-0 in 2011 and Fitzpatrick has thrown for a league leading 7 TD passes already. Fitzpatrick’s contract is up after this year and will certainly be rewarded for his stellar play.