Monday, October 25, 2010

Surprsing Fitz scoring points with Bills

If you want to win a few water cooler bets today, ask your colleagues to name the second highest-rated quarterback in the NFL this season.

Here’s a clue: The top-rated passer is future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning and the runner-up isn’t Tom Brady or Drew Brees or Philip Rivers or Eli Manning or Tony Romo or Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick.

Here’s another clue: The current No. 2 went to Harvard and claims that he isn’t even the best athlete in his household – those honors going to his wife, Liza, who was an All-American soccer player for the Crimson.

If you answered, “Ryan Fitzpatrick,” you deserve a huge pat on the back.

And you’re undoubtedly a die-hard Bills fan.

The man known as Fitz checks in this morning with a 102.0 rating, just 1.4 points behind the vaunted Manning. In his four starts since replacing the woeful Trent Edwards, Fitzpatrick has completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 969 yards and 11 touchdowns, and has thrown just four interceptions. He is averaging more yards per game than Brady and has more TD tosses in two fewer starts than Romo.

Although, he is win-less in those starts, Fitzpatrick has helped Buffalo score 34, 26, 14 and 30 points – meaning he has put his team in position to win three of those games. Sadly, he and the Bills have been undermined by a generous defense that has yielded 37, 36, 38 and 38 during that stretch.

At the very least, Fitz has made these 0-6 Bills entertaining. Despite possessing one of the weaker arms in the league, he hasn’t been afraid to take chances and throw downfield – a refreshing change from Edwards’ “Captain Checkdown’’ approach.

I just want to caution folks from getting too giddy. I still believe the Bills need to draft their quarterback of the future in April – “Andrew Luck, welcome to Buffalo” – but I would start Fitz until Luck is ready and would love having a situation where the 27-year-old veteran is my backup, emergency starter and mentor to the young guy.

He keeps playing like he did yesterday when he threw for 364 yards and four scores against a miserly Baltimore Ravens defense, and the Bills are sure to win a few games this season.

For more on the Bills, please check out my column and video report for Channel 8 and Fox at

If you aren’t doing anything tomorrow at noon, please stop by the Downtown library. I’m going to be doing a review of George Wills’ baseball book, “Men at Work” as part of the Books Sandwiched In program.

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