Ryan Fitzpatrick has had an unprecedented stretch as the starting role with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yet this stretch has also brought with it a multitude of questions that the Bucs are going to have to ponder throughout the season. Was this stretch a freak accident? Should the team bring back Jameis Winston as the starting Quarterback? Should the Bucs be considered of having a “shot to make the post-season? To fully answer all these questions one needs to recap the last 3 weeks for the Buccaneers.
In the first two games, Ryan Fitzpatrick lead the Bucs to wins that not even Tampa Bay fans predicted. One was against NFC powerhouse and divisional rival the New Orleans Saints. In this game Fitzpatrick threw for 417 yard, with 4 passing touchdowns, along with a rushing Touchdown. In this duel for divisional superiority, the Bucs were able to defeat the high offense of Drew Brees Saints. The next game was against the reigning super bowl champions Philadelphia. With a top tier defense, many assumed that the Buccaneers offense would be unable to score against this team. On the first play of the game, Fitzpatrick found Desean Jackson for 75-yard touchdown. In this game Fitzpatrick threw for 417 passing yards and threw 4 touchdowns to 4 different receivers. It is clear that the difference within both these wins was the phenomenal play by Ryan Fitzpatrick. During this past Saturday after 3 costly interceptions in a first half (one in the first half, another being a pick six) it seemed like the “magic” was over. Yet in the second half Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to rally the troops towards a serious comeback. They were able to both erase a 20-point deficit and ended up losing the game by only 3 points. Yet it was clear that while Fitzpatrick was able to bring his team back, the reason why they were in this hole was due to his mistakes in the first half
Knowing all of this, what does this mean for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and “Fitzmagic”. The first thing to note that within this stretch is that Ryan Fitzpatrick has become the first quarterback ever to throw for over 400 yards in three consecutive games. In a league that has had a plethora of great quarterbacks (Joe Montana, Bret Farve, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, etc.) somehow this back-up journeyman has become the first and only QB to attain this accomplishment. Therefore, it is no longer possible, to consider these events as some type of mistake or “freak miracle”. There has to be an explanation to this stretch of play. In my view the reason for the massive success in passing game is a combination of both Ryan Fitzpatrick skills, and the his extremely talented offensive weapons. What I mean by this is that I do not believe Fitzpatrick is in terms of talent a top 10 quarterback. Throughout his career he has consistently demonstrated inconstancy. Whether it was the was with the Jets when he had a 5-game winning streak until he eventually lost to the Bills. Even during his time with the Bills, he would have moments of greatness and would end up throwing 23interception to only 24 touchdowns. Yet, the big difference between those previous destinations and his current position are the multitude of offensive weapons he can utilize. Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Oj Howard are all major mismatches that the defense has to consistently worry about on every single play. Anyone of those guys can explode for a 50+yard touchdown which force the defense to play single coverage. Here, all Fitzpatrick has to do is find the mismatch and throw to that target. And this leads me to my next point, if an average quarterback can produce these results, why has Jameis not been able to produce any significant results for the last two years. It is entirely possible that Jamesis’s numbers could have been inflated. In no way is anyone saying that Winston cannot become the star, but all that is clear is that the Bucs have not looked this competent offensively for a very long time. They are currently both the number one passing offense and the 4thbest total offense in the league. Therefore, I believe that if the Bucs are serious about winning, they have no choice but to start Fitzpatrick. Currently from everything that we have seen, Fitzpatrick gives the Bucs the best chance to win games. Yet, if Fitzpatrick were to have a disastrous stretch of 2-3 games where he ends up reverting back to his turnover prone tendencies, then, and only then, should the Bucs start Winston. Remember, for all sport news and analysis keep it locked in at the Wrightway Network