If there's one thing Ryan Fitzpatrick has proved throughout his career, it's that he's resilient.
The Buffalo Bills' quarterback picked himself up off the canvas Saturday afternoon after getting whacked around the last seven weeks. After an ugly performance last week against Miami, he rebounded nicely in a 40-14 victory over the Denver Broncos.
Though this was a triumph highlighted by defense and special teams, Fitzpatrick took care of the offense in completing passes to eight different receivers for 196 yards. He didn't throw a touchdown, but he didn't throw an interception, either.
"It was obviously a great team win and for the defense to do what they did," Fitzpatrick said. "To be able to return was something that hadn't happened a lot this year, just in terms of everybody coming together and having a game where there's a lot of stuff that goes well, in terms of penalties and the tipped passes or whatever it is and there was a lot of good stuff going on."
For example, there was C.J. Spiller's career best 111 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown and Stevie Johnson's four catches for 92 yards, including a career-long of 55 yards. The offensive line allowed only one sack against Denver pass rushers Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.
Since the 23-0 shutout of Washington in Week Eight in which he was a superb 21 of 27 for 262 yards and two touchdowns, Fitzpatrick has been inconsistent. During the seven-game losing streak, he was 154 of 267 for 1,590 yards, eight TDs and 12 interceptions.
With an array of starters sidelined or slowed by injuries, the Bills went from first place in the AFC East to a borderline playoff team to missing the postseason altogether.
Each time Fitzpatrick played poorly in defeat, everything from the caliber of his talent, the size of his contract to the length of his beard was called into question. It was time for him to respond with a solid performance.
"Our quarterback took a lot of heat and people were trying to blame it on him but it was an offense thing," Spiller said. "It wasn't just his fault during the losing streak, everyone was in it together. We weren't playing great as an offensive unit but we showcased what we could do. We really wanted to go out and have a good offensive performance and I think guys played loose and were having fun out there."
The Bills looked more like the offensive unit that rolled through the first seven games of the season and averaged more than 30 points a game. After finishing with 404 yards last week against Miami, they put up 351 against Denver.
The offense wasn't perfect. Fitzpatrick bounced passes toward receivers early and the Bills were just 1 for 6 in the red zone and 2 of 12 on third down.
"I'm not going to sit and complain and analyze everything that we did on offense, what we could've done better, the red zone stuff," Fitzpatrick said. "A win like this, especially when we've lost so many in a row, enjoy the victory. Enjoy it in there with your teammates and tip your hat to the defense, special teams guys and C.J., his first 100-yard game. It was great to see that, too."