After having the best game of his career against the Bills last week Ryan Fitzpatrick followed it up with the worst game of his career, hell that might've been the worst game of anyone's career. So goes the Ryan Fitzpatrick story. What makes Fitzpatrick such a maddening quarterback is the fact that he is capable of great games like the one against the Bills last week, but that almost certainly means an impending disaster of a performance is soon to follow.
Fitzpatrick was far from the only reason the Jets lost yesterday, but he was without question the biggest reason they lost. The Jets struggled to get Matt Forte going on the ground (he had 10 carries for only 35 yards in the first half), Bilal Powell had a fumble that didn't really look like a fumble, Jalin Marshall coughed up a fumble on a kick return that the Chiefs returned for a touchdown and the Chiefs offense countered the Jets aggressive defense to control the ball and methodically move the ball with a solid rushing attack and a short passing game. But still, through all of that, the Jets were only down two touchdowns when Fitzpatrick threw two horrific interceptions in the Chiefs end zone. Oh and let's not forget the Chiefs first touchdown came directly after Fitzpatrick's first interception, another inexcusable throw to a covered Jalin Marshall, that gave the Chiefs the ball on the Jets 35-yard-line.
After the second interception in the end zone, third on the day, the wheels completely came off as Fitzpatrick threw three more picks, one returned for a touchdown, but what makes matters even worse is Fitzpatrick easily could've thrown eight or nine interceptions. He was wildly inaccurate the entire day and the Jets offense just couldn't get into a rhythm because their quarterback literally kept throwing them out of rhythm.
Todd Bowles said they had a "shitty game plan," Brandon Marshall said "we may be getting too cute," in the red zone and fans on Twitter were insistent that Chan Gailey called a horrible game, but the difference between good play calls and bad play calls is usually the execution. Any game plan will look bad when your quarterback throws six interceptions and if your response to that is about the coordinator then that simply means the coordinator should've called different plays because of the limitations of the quarterback. Either way it's because of the quarterback.
As bad as the defense looked at times in the first-half, they only gave up 10 points, with the lone touchdown coming on just a 35-yard drive. The field goal came after Powell's fumble, the Jalin Marshall fumble pushed the lead to 17-3 and the pick-six finished the game at 24-3, but through all of that mess the Jets still had the ball in the red zone, looking poised to score, twice that ended in two straight picks in the end zone. They were simply awful throws, as were most of Fitzpatricks's throws on the day.
Fitzpatrick finished the game going 20-44 for a lousy 188 yards (that's 4.27 yards per attempt!), six interceptions and a QBR of 5! Yes, 5! Profootballfocus.com gave Fitzpatrick the worst grade they've ever given a quarterback, sure we all should have our questions and doubts about their grading system, especially the grades they put out before reviewing the film, but can anyone realistically argue against giving Fitzpatrick such a terrible grade?
After a horrendous performance like that, is Bowles thinking about a quarterback change? No, no he is not.
Bowles said there's "no question" that Fitzpatrick will remain the starter and as horrible as Fitzpatrick played Bowles is right to stick with Fitzpatrick. Not because of the $12 million they paid him and not because of the other options behind Fitzpatrick, but because they chose to enter the season with Fitzpatrick as their anointed starter, you can't just abandon that after one game, no matter how bad that game was.
This is the Ryan Fitzpatrick story, just as his phenomenal performance last week meant a majestically awful performance was coming soon, this spectacular train wreck of a performance means another great one is somewhere on the horizon with a bunch of average performances sprinkled in between. That's what you get with Fitzpatrick, that's what you've always gotten with Fitzpatrick. They chose to anoint that guy as their starting quarterback and for the sake of stability they have to ride it out for another week or two and if he continues to play poorly than you consider making the switch.
Yes, it might be too late at that point to save the season but this is the NFL, you can't just switch quarterbacks after one bad game, even after a historically bad game. The coaching staff and the (most of the) players wanted Fitzpatrick back as their starter this year, that means they are obviously going to want to stick with him a little longer. However, with the Seahawks up next week Geno Smith might want to make sure he prepares a little more this week because there's no way Bowles can justify leaving Fitzpatrick in for the entire game if he gets anywhere near six picks again.
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)null