We need to talk about Fitzmagic.
Sure there's a phenom in Kansas City celebrating his 23rd birthday on Monday and making football history – the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes has a league-record 10 touchdown passes through the first two games of the season. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' own 35-years-young quarterback is blazing NFL trails of his own. Ryan Fitzpatrick has done things over the last nine days that no player before him ever did.
No, Fitzpatrick is not the first quarterback ever to throw for 400-plus yards in each of his team's first two games of a season; he's the third. Two NFL MVPs join him on the list, as both Tom Brady and Cam Newton accomplished that feat in 2011. And, no, Fitzpatrick is not the first quarterback ever to throw at least four touchdown passes in each of his team's first two games of a season; he is, again, the third. Mahomes has matched that accomplishment this year and New England's Drew Bledsoe did it first in 1997.
But you'll notice that there is only one name that intersects those two lists. Thus, we know this, and it's rather incredible:
Ryan Fitzpatrick is the first quarterback in the 99-season history of the NFL to throw for at least 400 yards and at least four touchdowns in each of his team's first two games of the season.
What you need to understand about this feat is that, before Fitzpatrick put up "400 & 4" in each of the last two games, that combination had only been accomplished 16 times since 1950 by any player in the first two weeks of any season. Hall of Fame-bound Peyton Manning is the only other quarterback to have done it twice, and his occurred 12 years apart. Here are all the "400 & 4" games ever thrown in the first two weeks of any season, presented in reverse chronological order:
You won't be surprised to learn that throwing for 819 yards and eight touchdowns – while suffering just one interception on a fluky deflected ball – leads to a gaudy passer rating. Fitzpatrick currently leads the NFL with a rating of 151.5; the absolute maximum is 158.3. Mahomes is next at 143.3 and no other passer is over 125.0. Setting the minimum at 20 passes, Fitzpatrick has the third-best passer rating ever through the first two games of any season. If you put the maximum at 50, which is a very reasonable 25 passes per game, he would be number one. Here is the top 10 on that list, with a 20-pass minimum:
Fitzpatrick threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson on the first play of Sunday's 27-21 win over the defending-league-champion Philadelphia Eagles, then later connected with tight end O.J. Howard on another 75-yard touchdown pass. He is the first quarterback in team history to have two 75-yard touchdown passes in a single game. It's been a little over a year since any player in the league accomplished that feat; former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had touchdown passes of 75 yards to Tyreek Hill and 78 yards to Kareem Hunt in last year's season opener (Sept. 7, 2017). However, it's a rare feat overall; Fitzpatrick is just the fifth NFL quarterback to do it in the last decade and just the eighth in the last 20 seasons (1999-2018). Here's the entire list:
· Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buccaneers vs. Eagles, Sept. 16, 2018
· Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Patriots, Sept. 7, 2017
· Jay Cutler, Bears vs. Rams, Nov. 15, 2015
· Carson Palmer, Cardinals vs. Eagles, Oct. 26, 2014
· Matt Schaub, Texans vs. Buccaneers, Nov. 13, 2011
· Brett Favre, Packers vs. Broncos, Oct. 29, 2007
· J.P. Losman, Bills vs. Texans, Nov. 19, 2006
· Kurt Warner, Rams vs. Falcons, Sept. 24, 2000
(We'll give you a moment to recover from seeing J.P. Losman's name sandwiched between that of Brett Favre and Kurt Warner. Okay now, moving on…)
Fitzpatrick also had touchdown passes of 58 and 50 yards in Tampa Bay's Week One 48-40 win in New Orleans. That combined with Sunday's exploit allowed Fitzpatrick to join Joe Namath (New York Jets, 1972) as the only players in NFL history to have four 50+-yard touchdown passes through the first two games of a season.
All of those long completions have cultivated a shocking yards-per-pass-attempt figure of 13.43, which is the best in the NFL. Only Mahomes, at 10.58, is even over 9.00 to join Fitzpatrick at the top. Fitzpatrick's yards-per-attempt through the first two games of the season is the fourth-best in the NFL since 1950. Again, we're using a minimum of 20 passes; Fitzpatrick is the first NFL quarterback to average more than 13 yards per attempt through the first two games on at least 50 passes. Here's the top five, which are the only five ever to be over 13.00 after two games:
Fitzpatrick currently leads the NFL with 819 passing yards. Prior to the 2018 season – which, again, is only two weeks old – Buccaneer quarterbacks had combined to record five 400-yard passing efforts in 42 seasons and 660 total regular season games. Fitzpatrick is the first one to do it twice, so he's obviously the first Buccaneers with consecutive 400-yard passing games. In the process, he joins a star-studded list of just eight NFL quarterbacks with at least 800 passing yards through the first two games of a season:
Quite honestly, the list of these accomplishments just goes on and on, and we're leery of giving you chart fatigue. So, courtesy of the Buccaneers Communications Department and their weekly "By the Numbers" publication, here are __ more bits of Fitzmagic to ponder:
· Fitzpatrick is the third player since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger to record consecutive games with 400 yards passing and four touchdowns, joining Miami’s Dan Marino (12/2/84 vs. L.A. Raiders-12/9/84 at Indianapolis) Tennessee’s Billy Volek (12/13/04 vs. Kansas City-12/19/04 at Oakland).
· Fitzpatrick is the first player in the NFL to post consecutive games with a passer rating of 140 or higher since 2015 (Seattle’s Russell Wilson, 11/29/15 vs. PIT-12/6/15 at MIN). He is the first player in Buccaneers history to do so.
· Fitzpatrick is the 10th player since 1950 to record eight or more passing touchdowns through the first two games of the season, joining Patrick Mahomes (10 - Kansas City, 2018), Drew Brees (9 - New Orleans, 2009), Charley Johnson (9 - St. Louis Cardinals, 1965), Peyton Manning (9 - Denver, 2013) Drew Bledsoe (8 - New England, 1997), Lynn Dickey (8 - Green Bay, 1983), Jim Kelly (8 - Buffalo, 1991), Dave Krieg (8 - Seattle, 1985), and Carson Palmer (Cincinnati, 2007).
· Fitzpatrick’s passer rating of 144.4 against the Eagles is the seventh-highest single-game mark in team history (min. 20 attempts). His 156.2 rating against the Saints is the second-best in team history.
· Fitzpatrick’s completion percentage of 81.8 against the Eagles (27 of 33) is the fifth-highest single game mark in team history (min. 20 attempts).
· Fitzpatrick’s 12.18 yards per attempt against the Eagles is the seventh-highest single game mark in team history (min. 20 attempts).