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Ryan Fitzpatrick Snares Player of the Week Award

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' record-tying 48-point output in the Superdome on Sunday was surprising, to say the least. The NFL's announcement of its weekly awards on Wednesday, far less so.

Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his incredible efforts in Tampa Bay's season-opening 48-40 win over the New Orleans Saints. Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 28 passes for 417 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, compiling a near-perfect 156.2 passer rating. He also ran for a touchdown and sealed the game with a 12-yard scramble on third-and-11 to extend the final drive.

This is the sixth time that Fitzpatrick has won a conference Player of the Week award, collecting two in the NFC and four in the AFC. He most recently won it three times while starting for the New York Jets, including twice in 2015 (Weeks 14 and 16) and once in 2016 (Week 2). Fitzpatrick has been an Offensive Player of the Week with four different teams, as he won his first such honor with the St. Louis Rams in 2005 and then his second with the Houston Texans in 2014 (Week 13).

Fitzpatrick's performance against the Saints was perhaps the best of his career, despite those previous accolades. In his 120th career NFL start he set personal highs in in both passer rating and passing yards, and his average of 14.89 yards per attempt was the eighth-highest by any NFL quarterback in the past decade. Fitzpatrick led the Bucs to a team record-tying 48 points as well as 529 yards of offense, the second-highest mark in franchise history. The Buccaneers' 8.5 yards per play against the Saints was also the second-best average in team annals.

Fitzpatrick ran 12 times for 36 yards in the game, including his three-yard touchdown run on a read-option keeper in the first quarter, on which he pushed through a hard hit to cross the goal line. Fitzpatrick joined former Washington quarterback Mark Rypien as the only two players in league history to throw for at least 400 yards and four touchdowns without an interception and run for a score in the same game. Rypien did it against Atlanta on Nov. 10, 1991.

Fitzpatrick becomes the eighth Tampa Bay quarterback to win an Offensive Player of the Week award, joining Steve DeBerg, Vinny Testaverde, Trent Dilfer, Shaun King, Brad Johnson, Josh Freeman and Jameis Winston. Interestingly, Fitzpatrick is the fourth player on that list to win this award in Week One. DeBerg did it first in 1987, followed by Testaverde in 1989 and Winston in 2016.

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