As the Bills began preparations for Sunday's game against the Titans, Ryan Fitzpatrick offered a direct analysis of his play so far.
"I have not started the way that I wanted to start and unfortunately it has been multiple games, not just one bad game here or there," he said.
It's been a concern, missed throws have eroded opportunities. Entering the San Francisco game, I found myself in a discussion about who was a better quarterback: Fitzpatrick or Alex Smith. The ensuing game provided a hefty point for the talk. There's no need to re-hash the stats. However, one telling moment is worth noting. Late in the second quarter, Fitzpatrick couldn't make the throw over the top to an open C.J. Spiller. After that ball sailed, Smith had a similar opportunity with Vernon Davis in the third quarter, and connected with his tight end for a 24 yard gain. It was a clear display of mechanics.
"A lot of being a quarterback is about decision making and timing," Fitzpatrick said Wednesday. "Those are the biggest things in being effective as a quarterback. In terms of the flaws, my mechanics and those types of things, those are something that is always going to be there especially with my throwing motion. The footwork was something we really focused on."
Despite an offseason of working on those mechanics, Fitzpatrick is only 21st in the NFL in passer rating and has thrown the sixth most interceptions. It's a far cry from how good he looked through the first six games of 2011. That's had several fans concerned, but not Chan Gailey.
"It is a totally different animal this year than it was last year in some respects, but I do not see (Fitzpatrick) being a lot different than he was last year," noted the head coach. "We just have not thrown the ball down the field and taken as many chances this year."
One of the things that's been missing in the Bills passing game has been the connection between Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson. The sometimes explosive duo has only hooked up 27 times in six games this year, with 316 yards and three touchdowns.
"There's definitely plays to be made," said Johnson. "They are there. That's our job. We've got to beat the man, continue to beat the man as coach says, and keep helping our quarterback so we can be open for that big play."
And at 3-3, more big plays will make all the difference.