FLORHAM PARK, N.J.— Ryan just hasn’t been able to figure out Rex’s defense.
During his 11 seasons in the NFL, there have been plenty of ups-and-downs for Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. There have been good times, bad times, in-between times. For the most part, he’s fit the “journeyman quarterback” stereotype to a ’T.’
But when it comes to games against a Rex Ryan-coached defense? Well, that’s been almost entirely downhill.
Fitzpatrick has faced Rex’s defense 10 times throughout his career. In those 10 games, the quarterback has completed just 47 percent of his passes and has thrown for just 1,642 yards with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Excluding a game in which he threw just eight passes, Fitzpatrick has a 2-7 career record versus Ryan and a combined quarterback rating of 68.8.
Those numbers aren’t very good.
“He’s a great defensive coordinator,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said when asked why Fitzpatrick struggles so much against Ryan. “I haven’t seen the Rex and Ryan rivalry, or battle. I haven’t seen the film from that stand point to know what he did against him, or what he didn’t do against him.
“He’s a great defensive coordinator. He does that to everybody. It’s not just Ryan. We just have to find a way to make plays.”
This Sunday, Fitzpatrick will see Ryan’s defense for the second time this year. The first outing didn’t exactly go in the Harvard product’s favor. In 22-17 Jets loss, Fitzpatrick completed just 15-of-34 passes, while throwing for 193 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions.
That game, even though it was played seven weeks ago, still weighs heavily on Fitzpatrick’s mind.
“It’s tough, you know, I watched the game earlier [Monday.] It’s tough watching that film,” Fitzpatrick said. “I didn’t play well in that game and some of the missed opportunities and things that we had, but you can’t dwell on it.
“You try to move on from it, get better and learn from it. I think we have. But, obviously they got us in the first one and we’ve got to play a better game, I’ve got to play a much better game this time around.”
While Fitzpatrick has been playing lights-out in the Jets last five games, the team will need him to stretch that to six in order to make the playoffs. With a victory against Buffalo, the Jets will qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2010.
And if Fitzpatrick is able to accomplish that? Well, the 10 prior matchups versus Rex won’t mean all that much.