Fitzpatrick comes through for Jets in 31-28 victory
Maligned quarterback leads New York to come-from-behind win over Browns
Maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick can stop worrying about what the Jets coaching staff and front office thinks of him.
Maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick can stop worrying about what the New York Jets coaching staff and front office thinks of him.
The proof came at halftime of a 31-28 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Fitzpatrick walked into the locker room having completed just three of 14 passes for 30 yards while getting sacked twice and having his helmet go flying during a first-quarter scramble.
Yet head coach Todd Bowles refused to turn to backup Bryce Petty. The way Bowles figured it, the issues the Jets were facing little to do with its quarterback.
“Ryan doesn’t play defense and Ryan doesn’t block, catch or run,” Bowles said. “We had to play better as a team.”
Fitzpatrick included. The veteran repaid his coach’s patience by passing for 222 yards and a touchdown in the second half as the Jets (3-5) put together the biggest road rally in franchise history. New York has won two straight after dropping five of its first six. The fact the victories have come over reeling Baltimore and luckless Cleveland (0-8) hardly matters.
“Starting off the season the way we did, it’s hard to come back from,” Fitzpatrick said. “It takes a
veteran group of guys who have been through these things and know that each week you can change your fortune by winning a game.
“That is the track we are on right now. Hopefully we can continue to put the work in and continue to win games.”
The plan, for now, will continue to include Fitzpatrick. Bowles made Petty the backup behind Fitzpatrick on Sunday while rookie Christian Hackenberg was inactive, a small acknowledgement from Bowles that Petty has separated himself in
the race to perhaps become Fitzpatrick’s eventual successor.
“Bryce has been here a year and has a little more experience so we went that way,” Bowles said. “I thought Bryce was ahead of him, but Hack is not too far behind.”
In the end, it didn’t matter. Fitzpatrick played well enough after halftime and the defense responded to a challenge from cornerback Darrelle Revis for the Jets to avoid the kind of loss that would have pretty much ended the competitive portion of their season before November.
“This is a great boost for us,” Revis said. “We can build off this. We showed a lot of courage today.”
Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick looks to break free from Browns cornerback Tramon Williams during New York’s 31-28 victory on Sunday.
Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches from sideline during New York’s victory over Browns.