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NY Jets Spotlight: Ryan Fitzpatrick

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The bearded one must rebound on Sunday if the Jets are to have a chance to win.

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Welcome to the Jets Spotlight.   Here we spotlight one key player for each game of the season, hopefully putting a different player in the spotlight each week. Today's player in the spotlight is Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.  The decision to put Fitzpatrick in the spotlight this week was not a difficult one.  Coming off an atrocious six interception performance against the Chiefs and facing arguably the best defense in the NFL this week in the Seahawks, Fitzpatrick will be the focus of attention for reasons he'd rather not think about.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is in the twelfth year of his career.  A 6' 2", 221 pound quarterback out of Harvard University,  Fitzpatrick was originally drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round as the 250th overall selection of the 2005 NFL Draft.

Fitzpatrick has bounced around a lot over the course of his career.  He is the embodiment of the label journeyman quarterback.  He first earned a starting position with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2008.  From 2009 through 2012 Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills.  In 2013 Fitzpatrick started for the Tennessee Titans, in 2014 it was the Houston Texans, and in 2015 he landed with the New York Jets.  Originally signed as a backup to Geno Smith, Fitzpatrick took the reins after a Smith injury in training camp in 2015 and never relinquished the starting gig.  He finished the season setting Jets passing records and entered the 2016 season firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback.  Here are Fitzpatrick's NFL statistics:

Year

Starts

Comp %

Yards

TDs

INTs

Passer

Rating

.

2005

3

56.3

777

4

8

58.2

2006

0

--

0

0

0

--

2007

0

--

0

0

0

--

2008

12

59.4

1905

8

9

70.0

2009

8

55.9

1422

9

10

69.7

2010

13

57.8

3000

23

15

81.8

2011

16

62.0

3832

24

23

79.1

2012

16

60.6

3400

24

16

83.3

2013

9

62.0

2454

14

12

82.0

2014

12

63.1

2483

17

8

95.3

2015

16

59.6

3905

31

15

88.0

2016

3

55.8

751

3

7

59.3

Ryan Fitzpatrick has faced the Seattle Seahawks twice since 2012.  In a blowout home loss in Buffalo in 2012 Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 38 passes for 217 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, a lost fumble and a passer rating of 58.8.  The Bills lost to the Seahawks 50-17.  A year later in a road game while playing with the Tennessee Titans Fitzpatrick again came up short.  He completed 17 of 29 passes for 171 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions, two fumbles and a passer rating of 46.8 in a 20-13 loss.  That makes Ryan Fitzpatrick 0-2 against the Seahawks since 2012 with five turnovers, less than 200 yards per game passing,  a passer rating of 53 and averaging 15 points per game.  Clearly that won't get the job done.

On Sunday Ryan Fitzpatrick has the chance both to exorcise his demons from last week's six interception meltdown as well as exact some revenge on a team against which he has struggled in the past.  He will attempt to do so with a better team and better offensive weapons than he has had in the past.  If Ryan Fitzpatrick can respond with a good game against an elite defense the Jets should be able to win this one.  If on the other hand Fitzpatrick once again comes up short against a great Seattle defense the call for him to be replaced as starting quarterback for the New York Jets will grow louder, and the Jets' playoff hopes will grow fainter.

Welcome to the spotlight Ryan Fitzpatrick.  All eyes will be on you.  Respond in a big way and the Jets may begin to right the ship.  Fail again against this tough defense and the Jets' playoff hopes will be running on fumes.   May you shine bright and stick it to the Seahawks on Sunday.