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Fascinating Fitz Facts and Other QB Thoughts

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick clearly was the star in the victory against Jacksonville in Week 3 as he accomplished some rare feats

Yes, it truly was a magical performance by Ryan Fitzpatrick in the Miami Dolphins' 31-13 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.

After national pregame shows got into the neverending debate of when rookie first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa should get into the lineup, Fitzpatrick served up more evidence as to why the Dolphins are in no rush.

The Dolphins have a solid starter already in the lineup, one who led the team to five wins in the final nine games of the 2019 season despite a clearly talent-deficient roster.

Yes, Fitzpatrick has off-the-charts intangibles because of his infectious personality, his feistiness and his obvious joy on the field, all of which make him very popular with his teammates, as anyone could see in the celebration for his rushing touchdown in the third quarter.

Oh, and did you know he went to Harvard?

But beyond all of that, and the great beard and the tropical shirt he wore for his NFL Network postgame interview, and his great self-deprecating humor — sorry, ladies, I'm already taken — Fitzpatrick is simply playing great football.

Against the Jaguars, Fitzpatrick set a Dolphins record for highest completion percentage in a game with at least 20 attempts when he went 18-for-20 for a 90 percent clip.

His two incompletions came late in the first half when tight end Mike Gesicki couldn't grab a catchable pass over the middle and then when Gesicki got tangled up with linebacker Myles Jack on the next play.

Here's the most amazing stat of the night, though, when it comes to Fitzpatrick, according to NFL Research: He became the second player in the NFL since 1948 to have at least two touchdown passes, with a rushing touchdown, a reception and at least 25 rushing yards in the same game. The first to do it: Guy by the name of Walter Payton, who did it in 1983 for the Chicago Bears against the New Orleans Saints.

Beyond that, Fitzpatrick posted a 133.3 passer rating, which is his highest as a member of the Dolphins.

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In the past two games after an opener when his stat line (three picks) was much worse than his performance, Fitzpatrick has thrown two touchdown passes with no picks against both Buffalo and Jacksonville.

And here's a great tidbit, and it involves the Chan Gailey factor: It's the fourth time in Fitzpatrick's very long career that he's had back-to-back with two or more touchdown passes and no picks and every time it's happened with Gailey as his head coach or offensive coordinator.

Fitzpatrick did it in 2010 and 2012 with the Bills and in 2015 with the Jets when he actually had a three-game streak.

Fitzpatrick did most of his damage in the first half against Jacksonville, going 12-for-14 before he completed all six of his attempt after halftime.

It needs to be mentioned that the Dolphins played it close to the vest in the second half because they always maintained a two-touchdown lead and because Jacksonville never looked like a threat offensively.

Fitzpatrick did what he needed to do.

He's taken a lot of flak over the years for his inconsistency, but his career has trended upward in recent years, starting with his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before he came to Miami.

In a way, it looks an awful like what Rich Gannon did some 20 years ago when he became a Pro Bowl selection for the first time at age 33 and became league MVP at 36.

Fitzpatrick will turn 38 in late November and we're not suggesting he's headed for an MVP season. But maybe he needs to start getting more respect for his ability and not merely be appreciated for his personality and his great beard.

And for Dolphins fans anxious to see Tagovailoa make his NFL debut, maybe it's time to accept there's a legitimate reason — beyond his readiness level — why that hasn't happened yet.