Against Cleveland on Sunday, Bengals QB Ryan Fitzpatrick attempted just nine passes, completing five for 55 yards and a touchdown. Lousy, right? Actually…no. In fact, that performance was good for a 110.9 QB rating, the second-best of Fitz’s career.
Fitzpatrick has no shortage of critics among Bengals fans, but as “The Guru,” an anonymous “former top football exec in the NFL” told bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson last Friday, “Fitzpatrick is a legitimate NFL backup. Dorsey should be coaching. Fitzpatrick is throwing the ball better than I thought he would, plus he really does a nice job keeping things alive with his legs. Dorsey gives you none of that.” That assessment was certainly borne out on Sunday.
No one will ever mistake Fitzpatrick for an NFL starter, but as a backup he does precisely what backups are supposed to do: don’t lose the game. With one game left, he has 10 TDs (8 passing, 2 rushing) against 14 turnovers (9 interceptions and 5 lost fumbles). Fitz doesn’t generate big numbers, but doesn’t make a lot of mistakes either, especially when the rest of the Bengals offense bothers to show up.
And with the Fitzpatrick and the offense having gotten into something vaguely resembling a rhythm lately — the team is 3-3-1 over the last seven games — the option to retain Fitz, a free agent after the season, looks a bit better. No one will shed any tears if he walks, but it seems a waste to let a guy who has gotten so much experience this season walk. One need only look at Ken Dorsey to see it could be much worse.