"You know, this guy, he's legit. You know, let's go back to last year. I hate to live in the past, but so many people were down on Fitz," Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall told reporters after the Jets' win over the Bills on Thursday. "They said it was his fault. But you all know -- you guys have been in the locker room, you guys have been in the huddle -- sometimes, it may be the receiver's fault. I'm not going to live in the past, I don't want to throw anyone under the bus, but it wasn't all him. If we win that game (regular-season finale), if one of those interceptions is a touchdown, now he's crowned king and maybe you don't even hold out the whole offseason. He (would have) had the contract Day 1 in free agency.
"I still run the table for Fitz, I believe in Fitz, and he proved himself tonight."
Fitzpatrick completed 24 of 34 passes for 374 yards and a touchdown Thursday night. And while the team was truly buoyed by a throwback performance from their offensive line and a 30-carry, 100-yard night from Matt Forte with three touchdowns, Fitzpatrick did exorcise some demons that have been following him around for quite some time.
As we first noted back in March, Fitzpatrick has had a terrible time dealing with Rex Ryan defenses dating all the way back to his time as a starter in Buffalo. That truly manifested itself in last year's season finale when Fitzpatrick chucked three interceptions and posted a 42.7 quarterback rating in a loss to Buffalo that knocked the Jets out of the playoffs.
While this might seem like a moment for the Jets quarterback, it is really just an example of how Fitzpatrick has played throughout his career. There are good games and there are bad games. There were well-founded reasons for the Jets to be hesitant about signing him to a long-term contract and there still are. So in that respect, nothing has changed but a notch in the win column -- and maybe a little less for Bills coach Rex Ryan to worry about in the future.