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Bills receiver says Fitzpatrick played through cracked ribs

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Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 2011 performance downturn seemed to begin immediately after the team signed him to a surprise in-season extension worth $59 million. Fitzpatrick’s team went 1-8 down the stretch, and he threw only 10 touchdown passes compared to 16 interceptions in Buffalo’s final nine contests.

Bills receiver David Nelson, however, believes that Fitzpatrick’s sudden, sharp decline had more to do with an injury the team never revealed.

“A lot of people don’t know, but Fitz, during the Washington game, actually cracked a couple of ribs,” Nelson said. “So after that, he was playing hurt.”

Fitzpatrick did show up on the injury report the following week, listed with a “chest” injury. He was “limited” in practice that week, and started the next game against the Jets.

We might believe Fitzpatrick’s second-half swoon was attributable to injury if he hadn’t started hot, then crashed down the stretch the season before. But that’s exactly what happened to Fitzpatrick in 2010, as well.

As Mike Florio reported in late November, the Bills do have the option of getting out of Fitzpatrick’s contract. They can trade or cut him before the seventh day of the new league year (March 19) by declining to pay his scheduled $5 million option bonus.

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25 Responses to “Bills receiver says Fitzpatrick played through cracked ribs”
  1. worldwidebleater says: Feb 4, 2012 2:23 PM

    Ralph Wilson wouldn’t sign that check if it were Aaron Rodgers, much less Ryan Fitzpatrick. Dude probably gives out hard candy at Halloween.

  2. footballprophet says: Feb 4, 2012 2:24 PM

    I’m thankful he didn’t have a concussion or he’d have been out of action for weeks with a mild headache.

  3. rabidbillsfan says: Feb 4, 2012 2:30 PM

    To be completley honest, and not to sound Bias, but there could be some truth to this. The thing Fitz struggled with the most down the stretch was his accuracy, most of his throws missed high, and his outs didn’t have enough velocity and wound up one-hopping. Cracked ribs can do that, it will alter your release point because of pain, normally resulting in high balls and decreased arm strength. You don’t go from having 60%+ accuracy to low 50% because you hit a “Slump” or you don’t have the ability, something physical was affecting that. You may say “well why not sit him out a few weeks”, ok, Tyler “Hit in the head on the sideline” Thigpen is our backup, A one-armed Fitz gave us a better chance to win than he did. Something else to keep in mind, Fitz saw a heck of alot more people in his face through those last 9 games, mostly due to OL injuries. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy the ” He’s paid and packed it in” theory. A better supporting cast this season will do wonders for this team.

  4. ghjjf says: Feb 4, 2012 2:37 PM

    Well, carrying all that money to the bank can put some extra strain on the ribs, no surprise here…

  5. upyoursnfu says: Feb 4, 2012 2:38 PM

    That explains all of Stevie Johnson’s dropped passes. Or atleast he would use that as an excuse

  6. bradygazelle says: Feb 4, 2012 2:43 PM

    Uh oh. Looks like the Bills deserve to lose their first round pick next year.

  7. leocrow says: Feb 4, 2012 3:03 PM

    Ryan Fitzpatrick could have been playing through several missing limbs and it would still have been the defense dragging this team down.

    No Silva, the Bills aren’t going to cut Ryan Fitzpatrick, nor should they. Sad story is he’s pretty much middle of the pack as far as NFL starting quarterbacks go.

  8. trbowman says: Feb 4, 2012 3:07 PM

    Fitz is a beast.

    Read it and weep, haters.

  9. theamishrifle says: Feb 4, 2012 3:18 PM

    We might believe Fitzpatrick’s second-half swoon was attributable to injury if he hadn’t started hot, then crashed down the stretch the season before. But that’s exactly what happened to Fitzpatrick in 2010, as well.

    How is that exactly what happened in 2010? The Bills lost every game in the first half of 2010. I’m not sure I would call that ‘starting hot.’ Winning four games in the second half isn’t much of a crash either.

  10. schmokes says: Feb 4, 2012 3:24 PM

    If you choose to play hurt and can’t put up the numbers, then it’s on you. No excuses.

  11. stanmark says: Feb 4, 2012 3:25 PM

    come on out “gmen” tells us how bad buffalo is and how its too cold for your widdle nose.

  12. buffalomafia says: Feb 4, 2012 3:26 PM

    Fitz is a bust! The Bills should trade up to try to draft a QB?

    There is rumor Stevie Johnson wants to play in SF?

  13. brenenostler says: Feb 4, 2012 3:27 PM

    I knew lumberjacks couldn’t play QB

  14. EJ says: Feb 4, 2012 3:59 PM

    Ryan Fitzpatrick is going nowhere. Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey signed him long term because they believe he is the man for the job. With a better supporting cast Fitzpatrick will improve. He is a brilliant game general with an average arm. He makes up for the average arm with the balls of an Airforce Pilot. He is not afraid to take a hit, and when he does take one he gets up shakes it off and goes back to the line. Not afraid to lay a block or two unlike most QB’s in the NFL and when he takes off running with the ball 50% of the time he goes forward like any other player on the field, rarely do you see him slide.

    Give him his line he had in the begining of the year, another good receiver opposite Stevie Johnson and a healthy Freddy Jackson and he will prove to the NFL that he belongs.

  15. painkiller20 says: Feb 4, 2012 4:11 PM

    Stevie Johnson has had cracked hands for a couple years now too I guess….. The reason he dropped the game winning TD against the Steelers in 10′ was because his hands were shattered.

  16. rwmilli says: Feb 4, 2012 4:45 PM

    Not a buffalo fan, but I agree with the only two people who posted intelligent answers. With that being said I also believe the QB position is overrated and takes to much criticism. You don’t need a drew breed, Tom Brady, or manning type quarterback to win, this game is a team sport. Fitz is a very amazing quarterback in the sense that he isn’t Peyton manning r drew brees, if and when this guy gets a legitimate set of weapons to play with, he will do great things, he’s tough as nails ! But if the bills really want to win games they will build up that terrible defense of theirs, so that fitz isn’t expected to put 40 points up consistently to get his guys a W

  17. jamiebuf12 says: Feb 4, 2012 5:06 PM

    theamishrifle says:
    Feb 4, 2012 3:18 PM
    We might believe Fitzpatrick’s second-half swoon was attributable to injury if he hadn’t started hot, then crashed down the stretch the season before. But that’s exactly what happened to Fitzpatrick in 2010, as well.

    How is that exactly what happened in 2010? The Bills lost every game in the first half of 2010. I’m not sure I would call that ‘starting hot.’ Winning four games in the second half isn’t much of a crash either……….first off trent checkdown edwards started the first few games……….ryan did a very good job as the season went on..the bills defense is very porus to be polite….i bet after this season the bills have a much improved defense…….go bills in 2012:-)

  18. bearsstillsuck says: Feb 4, 2012 6:21 PM

    Bathroom Ben believes him.

  19. catquick says: Feb 5, 2012 12:09 AM

    they went 4-4 the last half of ’10 and lost 2 in OT against the Ravens and Steelers, who were in the SB, and that was only because Johnson dropped the ball. Fitz was magic in the second half last year. I told my son when London Fletcher hit him that Fitz was hurt. I thought he might have broke his ribs, but they never said so, and he was never the same guy. I thought it was being gunshy, but now we know it was pain.

  20. stanmark says: Feb 5, 2012 9:20 AM

    im not one to go all ex-post-facto on why a team went downhill… ok well maybe i am. I think injuries were the bigger problem. and yes, i know buffalo has heard the injury argument before. but never have they had the depth of injury to happen. i dont know if they have had this level of talent even available to be injured. Kyle Williams+Merriman+Terrance McGhee+Corto all out on IR on Defense. Then on offense you lose your all star RB, WR corps is OBLITERATED, and the troublesome o-line turned into a revolving door all year. YES other teams deal with injuries- save that argument. Buffalo had 2nd most IR players on the year and according to PFW they were #1 on the injury rankings this year, showing injuries hit NO TEAM harder.
    This is precisely why, if you are ready to pull the trigger on Fitz and boot him out based on his performance, then well… you are ignorant.

  21. keepyerstickontheice says: Feb 5, 2012 12:57 PM

    “We might believe Fitzpatrick’s second-half swoon was attributable to injury if he hadn’t started hot, then crashed down the stretch the season before. But that’s exactly what happened to Fitzpatrick in 2010, as well.”

    Started hot? Trent Edwards was the starting QB for the Bills in 2010. He got all the first team reps in the pre-season and up until game 3. What week does “the stretch” officially start? They didn’t win their first game until week 10, then beat Cleveland and Miami in weeks 14 and 15.

    The two seasons are polar opposites of each other.

    If you saw the hit London Fletcher put on Fitzpatrick, cracked ribs seem reasonable.

    But to have seen that, you would have to actually watch the games, and I wouldn’t inflict that on my worst enemy.

    Except ‘fins fans. :)

  22. billsthicknthin says: Feb 6, 2012 11:36 AM

    May have something to do with it, but probably not as much as the injuries to the guys he threw to. He lost 3 of his top 6 WRs before the season began to trade or injury (Evans, Parrish, Easley) then lost more of his top targets at the mid point. Fred Jax, Chandler and Donald Jones, were the 3rd, 4th and 5th in catches/yards before they got hurt. Defenses didn’t have to prepare for Freddy all week once he went down. Fitz had TWO of his top 8 pass catchers healthy for all of the year and thats a 7th rounder and an undrafted, albeit SJ13 and Nelson are solid NFLers. Still, imagine if he had just one legit big physical #1 that could make plays. If any QB has an excuse, it may be him, but he still denied the injury had anything to do with his performance. Fitz can take this team to the playoffs 100%, just give him ONE highly touted WR and a PASS RUSH ALREADY.

  23. bills56shout says: Feb 7, 2012 10:45 AM

    The Bills problem is injuries. Year in and Year out. We went 1-8 down the stretch because of shuffling on the O-line, Donald Jones being hurt, injuries in the secondary, Freddie getting hurt and the lack of any pass rush didn’t help either. Fitz is a beast. I agree that we need to re-sign Stevie, bring in another WR and lock down that O-line. The Bills are on the up and up. We had a great draft last year, have another great draft this year, hopefully bring in one big free agent signing and we are right back in it.

  24. kidwith80dee says: Feb 7, 2012 5:47 PM

    The Buffalo Bills are moving in the right direction. Wasn’t much progress with Dick ‘Skeletor’ Jerkon in there. When fitzmagic took over in 2010 they lost a lot of those games by a small margin. There were a crazy amount of people on the IR this year, including our ,excuse me, NFL leading rusher for a couple weeks. We need a go to receiver and make Stevie our number 2 receiver. And we need a pass rusher, another LB and a good corner.

  25. rocbillsboy says: Feb 8, 2012 6:50 AM

    I’m still. Billiever in Fitz, but HURRY AND RE-SIGN HIS #1 TARGET STEVIE J. Record show he’s been one of our receivers to ever play for us. And sign a big body deep threat

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