Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to stave off both Father Time and Tua Time.
The 37-year-old Harvard grad still has game left in his aging bones and showed it Thursday night with a blistering performance as the Miami Dolphins jolted the Jacksonville Jaguars, 31-13.
The man affectionately known as FitzMagic did it all for Miami, completing 18-of-20 passes with 2 TDs and no INTs, rushing for 38 yards on seven carries and another score and even catching his own pass off a batted ball.
More than anything, Fitzpatrick had fun. And it showed.
“I mean it’s why I still play. I enjoy playing, especially when you’re having success, when you’re driving the ball down the field scoring touchdowns,” he said after the tilt, via the team’s official transcript. “I feel like the luckiest guy in the world sometimes getting to go outside and play football with my friends. I think you can see it in everyone. Mike [Gesicki]’s in the room right now, but every time Mike scores a touchdown or makes a catch, the look on his face is like he’s never caught a ball before. It’s fun for us to go out there and run around a little bit.”
The superlatives for Fitzpatrick were nearly as long as his luscious beard.
His 90 percent completion rate set a new career-high (min. 10 attempts). For a franchise that boasts Dan Marino as an alum, that completion percentage is tops by a Dolphins QB in franchise history (min. 20 att.). Fitzpatrick’s passer rating of 133.3 was his best since moving to Miami.
FitzMagic generated his third game of 25-plus rush yards and 1-plus rush TD since his 35th birthday, the fifth-most such games by a player in the Super Bowl era. The only players with more: HOF Marcus Allen, HOF John Riggins, HOF Emmitt Smith, HOF Steve Young. (So this means Fitzpatrick is definitely going in the Hall of Fame, right?)
Fitzpatrick joined HOF’er Walter Payton in 1983 as the only players since 1948 to have 2-plus passing TDs, 1-plus rush TD, 25-plus rush yards and a reception in a game.
He became the fourth player in the Super Bowl era with a pass TD, rush TD and reception in the same game at age 35 or older.
With the 31-13 win, the Dolphins broke a streak of 38 straight games without a double-digit victory.
And then there was this:
Postgame fit ? pic.twitter.com/Kozp3a0B6h
“Now, being in Florida for going on four years and being the elder statesman on the team, I’ve adopted more of the senior citizen look in terms of some of the touristy shirts and my waistband is sitting a little higher than it used to,” he explained of the look. “But I do like the color, I like the flair, and I would say the chest hair is probably 50-50 on whether people like it or not. They have very strong feelings about it, but the right people in my life like the chest hair, so it’s okay to have it out.”
“Fitz is out of his mind,” tight end Mike Gesicki said. “To have him as our leader and to see the fun that he has, it’s so fun.”
Sooner or later, Tua Tagovailoa will take over the starting gig. But not yet. Thursday showed there is still good football left in the wild arm of FitzMagic. If he desires to play beyond this season, the unique gunslinger will have an NFL job somewhere. And the game will be better for it.
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