Fitz­patrick comes through for Jets in 31-28 vic­tory

Ma­ligned quar­ter­back leads New York to come-from-be­hind win over Browns

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Will Graves

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.”

DAVID RICHARD — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Jets quar­ter­back Ryan Fitz­patrick looks to break free from Browns cor­ner­back Tra­mon Wil­liams dur­ing New York’s 31-28 vic­tory on Sun­day.

DAVID RICHARD — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches from side­line dur­ing New York’s vic­tory over Browns.

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