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Bills WR Nelson says QB Fitzpatrick played with cracked ribs

In late January, Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick suggested that the team fell apart after a hot start because it wasn't "ready" to win. But there could be another reason, according to Bills receiver David Nelson, who said Friday that Fitzpatrick was dealing with a serious injury for the majority of the season.

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"A lot of people don't know, but Fitz, during the Washington game, actually cracked a couple of ribs," Nelson said, according to "So after that, he was playing hurt."

The Bills beat the Redskins 23-0 in Week 8, when Fitzpatrick threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns. Nelson did not specify when exactly the injury occurred. It's worth noting, though, that Fitzpatrick took some abuse in that game, including a tackle from London Fletcher that had Fitzpatrick being tended to by trainers.

"I think the whole team had a collective gasp when they saw him down there trying to suck air," running back Fred Jackson said after that game. "It was good for him to get back in there."

If Nelson is right, though, that Oct. 30 game was the last time Fitzpatrick was healthy. The Bills went on to close out the season with a 1-9 record, with Fitzpatrick completing just 58.2 percent of his passes and getting picked off 16 times.

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