The year before, on Dec. 11, 2005, Fitzpatrick, then a rookie QB from Harvard, got a game ball. Unfortunately for him, that game ball came from the Vikings.
In a 27-13 win by the Vikings, Fitzpatrick did everything he could to help the cause. While he scored the Rams' only touchdown with a run for a score, he threw five interceptions that continually shot the Rams in the foot.
That nervous rookie has come a long way and the Vikings won't be seeing the same guy who embarrassed himself in his first visit to Minnesota and the thunder under the dome.
"I tell you what, that guy has become a pretty good quarterback," cornerback Lito Sheppard said. "We saw him last year when I was with the Jets and he makes all the throws and he can move his team. He had a bad game, obviously, when he played here, but he's a different quarterback now than he was then."
Fitzpatrick is prone to turnovers – he has thrown two interceptions in four of the nine games he has played – but if people expect to see a repeat of his brutal performance in his only previous start, they may be in for a rude awakening. That Ivy League rookie has come a long way and may be the future of the Bills franchise after finding a home and a system that fits his style.
"The one thing that Fitz gives you is he had great intelligence. The two things he knows are defense and protection and he can get all our guys headed in the right direction to pick up the stuff the defenses are giving him," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "He understands coverage's and how blitzes relate to coverage's. He really is… Some people say he's a coach on the field. Shoot, he's smarter than the coaches on the sideline. He's smarter and he does a great job in getting our team organized in the direction that they need to go to handle the stuff we're seeing on third-downs."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.