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Buffalo’s passing offense is ranked 31st in the NFL.
Yet Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick currently owns the league’s fourth-best quarterback rating – better than New England’s Tom Brady.
While the Bills haven’t been the league’s most dangerous offensive team so far this season, Fitzpatrick’s hot play since taking over as starter in Week 3 has the Ravens’ attention.
“Obviously, he’s not a big-name guy,” linebacker Jarret Johnson said. “But he’s got some good receivers, a good arm and he makes plays. He’s a guy you have to worry about. You can’t sleep on this guy.”
Fitzpatrick, a 2005 seventh-round draft pick, posted a 69.7 quarterback rating in 10 games (8 starts) with Buffalo last season. It was his third team in five years.
This season, the Harvard graduate has seemed to figure it out.
Fitzpatrick, who took over for Trent Edwards after two weeks, has passed for 595 yards and thrown seven touchdowns to two interceptions. That’s good for a 99.9 quarterback rating.
He has yet to win a game this season, but Buffalo has averaged more than 23 points per game with him under center. That includes a 30-point performance against the Patriots in Week 3 and a career-high three touchdown passes in his last start against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I think we’re getting better at getting the ball out and he’s got a little gun-slinger attitude to him, which is good,” Bills Coach Chan Gailey told the Baltimore media.
In his lone start against Baltimore in 2008, Fitzpatrick completed 12 of 31 points for 124 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown or interception and ran three times for 29 yards while fumbling twice.
That rushing potential is one component the Ravens are focused on. Fitzpatrick has rushed 12 times for 96 yards (8.0 average) this season and fumbled just once. In 2008, he rushed 60 times for 304 yards.
“He runs around,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’ve had trouble with in the past. We didn’t expect him to scramble and he scrambled all over us. He can create some things.
“Plus, obviously he’s smart. He went to Harvard or MIT or something like that.”