By Brian Willwerth
As Mr. Noonan pointed out earlier this week, seven NFL teams are off to [2-0] starts this season. Three of them are in the AFC East and it’s probably not surprising to see the Patriots and Jets on that list.
And then, there are the Buffalo Bills.
Their starting quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played his college ball at Harvard has been in the league for seven years, spending the last three in Buffalo. In the first two games this year against the Chiefs and Raiders, Fitzpatrick threw seven touchdown passes. He’s tied for the top in that category with Matthew Stafford, and some guy named Brady.
After throwing three touchdown passes in a season-opening blowout of Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium, Fitzpatrick followed that up last Sunday against Oakland with three more scoring tosses, including the game-winner on fourth down with less than a minute remaining in the game. Against the Raiders, he led the Bills to five consecutive touchdown drives in a wild, back-and-forth second half. He’s only thrown one interception through the first two games.
While it took time for him to earn a starting job in the NFL, Fitzpatrick was used to winning at Harvard. He took over as the Crimson’s starting signal caller in ‘03 as a junior, and threw 16 touchdowns against 8 interceptions. In his senior year, he led Harvard to an undefeated season, ending up just shy of 2,000 yards while earning Ivy League MVP honors.
No one is comparing Ryan Fitzpatrick to Tom Brady, who he will face on Sunday in Orchard Park, New York, but if the Harvard grad leads his team to a [3-0] start, the rest of the NFL will start to take notice.