Saturday, September 25, 2010
Fitzpatrick switch could be Buffalo's tonic
By Tim Graham
The Buffalo Bills are reeling. They're 0-2 and already being mentioned as the NFL's worst team. Their next opponents, the New England Patriots, have won 13 straight games and never have lost to the Bills in Gillette Stadium.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will attempt to take advantage of a shaky New England secondary.
The Bills are 14-point underdogs for Sunday's game, but maybe -- just maybe -- Fitzpatrick can do what head coach Chan Gailey hoped when he said he was looking for a spark.
Edwards (aka Captain Checkdown) would not have tested a suspect Patriots pass defense. Fitzpatrick probably will. He's not timid about pushing downfield. Fitzpatrick called an audible and hooked up with Terrell Owens for a 98-yard touchdown last year.
"He's completely different than Trent and just a completely different quarterback," said Bills receiver Lee Evans, who Edwards failed to complete a pass to last week against the Green Bay Packers. Fitzpatrick "does things that sometimes you may not advise, but he just plays. ... He's very witty and he just plays, so with that you have a chance."
I asked Evans what he meant by Fitzpatrick's inadvisable plays.
"Just to the fact that against certain coverages, sometimes he feels like he can fit a ball in, and he'll try and it’s basically just that simple," Evans said. "He just feels the game and reacts off instinct."
Fitzpatrick's instincts should tell him to test the Patriots' secondary.
Belichick said Evans and Parrish are "big-time threats" and "we know those guys can do a lot of damage with the ball in their hands."
And perhaps Gailey will be able to feature rookie running back C.J. Spiller in a new way.
"I'm excited for the opportunity," Fitzpatrick said. "Like I said the past few days, I'm looking to take advantage if it's there, but it’s not one of those where you've got to go out there and throw for 600 yards and throw it downfield every play.
"It's 'How are we going to win this football game?' And whatever that takes, if we have to run the ball on every snap, if we have to throw it deep, whatever it takes is what we're going to do and we're looking to get a win."