The 38-year-old quarterback is ready for anything, as he was again on Sunday.
After being benched a few weeks ago, Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes starting in place of the injured. Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins kept the New York Jets winless with a 20-3 win.
“It’s kind of the story of my career,” said Fitzpatrick, who was on eight teams for 16 seasons. “It’s been so high and low. I’m in line and out of line and I’m back. I’m just trying to stay steady and show leadership when my number is called.
” I like to play. I love being there.
Tagovailoa was inactive with a left thumb injury, so Fitzpatrick intervened against one of his many former teams. And he didn’t have to do too much to keep the Dolphins (7-4) in the AFC playoff hunt, not against the lowly Jets anyway.
Fitzpatrick finished 24 of 39 for 257 yards with TD shots on tight ends Mike Gesicki and Adam Shaheen, helping the Dolphins bounce back from a five-game winning streak last week.
“Ryan played well,” said coach Brian Flores. “He made enough plays to help us win the game. He distributed the ball to several different receivers.
In fact, 10 dolphins have had at least one catch, including DeVante Parker in the lead with eight for 119 yards.
Flores said Tagovailoa is “very close” to being able to play in this game, but the Dolphins want to be safe with the first-round rookie. That means he could be back on the sidelines next week for Fitzpatrick.
“When my number is called, I’m going to go out there and win games for this team,” Fitzpatrick said.
New York has regained its starting quarter as Sam Darnold played after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury. But the offensive could not do much. Darnold was intercepted by Nik Needham and Xavien Howard, and the Jets (0-11) twice failed to take advantage of the defense take-out.
“We had opportunities,” said coach Adam Gase. “We just didn’t make the plays we needed to make. ”
Another poor offensive performance has again sparked speculation whether New York could part ways with Gase, who has been outscored 44-3 in two losses this season to his former team. The 11-game slippage is the second longest in team history, one game less than the teams’ 1995-96 losing streak under Rich Kotite.
After Miami went three and under to open the second half, New York moved the ball across the field – thanks to an impressive 27-yard catch by Breshad Perriman. But Darnold tried to do too much on the third down at the 32 Dolphins, throwing himself right through his body on the run and double covering with Needham for an easy interception.
“I have to be better,” Darnold said. “I didn’t play well enough to win a baseball game today.”
The Jets didn’t put together much the rest of the way – although they did have a few chances.
The Dolphins started chewing the clock at the end of the third quarter focusing on racing, but it cost them when Quinnen Williams jumped the ball out of Matt Breidahands and Harvey langi recovered to give the ball to the Jets at Miami’s 45 with 4:09 left in the period.
But there was nothing New York could do with the take out, go to three.
The Jets ‘defense rose again on the Dolphins’ next run, with Jordan Jenkins kick the ball out of Patrick Lairdhands and Neville Hewitt Pick it up and return it to Miami 26.
But again, the New York attack stalled. The Jets did it the fourth and first of the 17th, but Frank Gore was drunk by Elandon Roberts for a loss of one meter.
“When it comes to fourth and one, it’s a mentality,” Roberts said. “I look at it like a team wants to throw the ball in the fourth and one, it’s disrespectful.”
Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins onto the field and sealed the victory with a 7-yard touchdown for Shaheen who went 20-3 with 6:54 to go.
Gesicki gave the Dolphins a 10-3 lead with 8:56 left in the first half when Fitzpatrick threw a fade into the right corner of the end zone and the tight 6-foot-6 end took used his height advantage to overtake the rookie 6-1. security Ashtyn Davis for the touchdown.
The practice was extended with a controversial appeal when Parker was credited with a 19-yard capture although he never seems to have fully controlled the ball before. Javelin guidance dropped it from his hands. Gase disputed the call – and the TV reruns appeared to support the Jets’ argument – but it was confirmed and the Dolphins scored four games later.
Dolphins: WR Malcolm Perry injured his chest early in the match.
Jets: with RT George Fant (knee / ankle) out, Conor McDermott started in his place. … LG Pat Elflein made his Jets debut, replacing Alex Lewis (not related to injury). Gase said Lewis’s situation was being handled “internally” by the team, but would not give details. … KG Blake Cashman left with a hamstring injury.
Dolphins: Welcome the Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday.
Jets: Host the Las Vegas Raiders next Sunday.
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