In Week 3 action with the New York Jets, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played one of the worst games in franchise history. Despite his abysmal performance, the Jets should not consider benching him.
There’s no point in playing games, no point in trying to sugarcoat unpleasant truths. The New York Jets were an absolute embarrassment against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The team put on a clinic on how to lose football games, turning the ball over an astounding eight times.
The only bright spot was the defense, which somehow kept the game relatively close in spite of the Jets playing fast and loose with the football. On the other hand, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was most certainly not a bright spot. The Jets signal caller was atrocious, completing less than half his passes (20/44) and throwing a career-high six interceptions.
Fitztragic? More like Fitztrainwreck. He threw errant and wobbly passes plus not to mention, he even threw into triple coverages. At the rate Fitzpatrick was going, he was lucky that he only tied the franchise record for most interceptions thrown in a game.
As quarterback of the 1950 Chicago Cardinals, Jim Hardy once threw a record eight interceptions in a game. If the Jets-Chiefs game had gone on for a few more minutes, one has to wonder if Fitzpatrick could have shattered one of the league’s most infamous and long-standing records.
Fans and analysts are already calling for Fitzpatrick’s head on a platter. In light of such a horrifying performance, the following reactions are understandable.
#Jets didn't pay 12M to bench their starter after 3 games. If they get to 1-5? Then it becomes a discussion. Whether you agree or not.
— Joe Caporoso (@TurnOnTheJets) September 25, 2016
However, understandable or not, the notion that the Jets should bench Fitzpatrick after three games are completely absurd. It’s a prime example of emotions and hot takes triumphing over facts and common sense.
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The facts are actually pretty simple.
Fitzpatrick is an average and inconsistent quarterback. He will have games where he drives the team to a victory (ie. against Buffalo in Week 2), and he will have games where he single-handedly causes his team to implode.
Yet most of the time, Fitzpatrick is neither world-beater nor dumpster fire.
In general, Fitzpatrick plays mediocre football. He plays just well enough for his team to contend in most games.
Consider last year. Fitzpatrick had his share of atrocious games (including three interception games against the Bills and Philadelphia Eagles), but he was generally effective (more touchdown passes than interceptions in nine of his 16 games).
If the Jets had a good quarterback on their bench, then by all means consider benching Fitzpatrick. Then again, if they already had a good quarterback, they wouldn’t have paid Fitzpatrick $12M in the first place.
In the same way that Jets fans shouldn’t dub Fitzpatrick a franchise quarterback after one great performance against Bills, they also shouldn’t be calling for his benching after one nightmare performance. Fitzpatrick is a generally steady if unspectacular ship, and now is the time for the Jets to stay the course.