Ryan Fitzpatrick’s having a crazy 2016. Since spending his spring in a contract holdout with the New York Jets, he tied an NFL record for interceptions in a game, been benched for Geno Smith, and reclaimed his spot atop the New York depth chart after Smith suffered a season-ending injury.
With a traditional approach to football going poorly, Fitzpatrick tried something new against the Miami Dolphins -- a downfield lateral one hand away from something straight off the rugby pitch.
Facing third-and-9 on New York’s first drive of the day, the veteran quarterback scrambled up the middle for 14 yards. Then, facing oncoming tacklers, he spun an underhand toss back to Bilal Powell, whose one-handed grab prevented Fitzpatrick’s quick thinking from turning disastrous. Powell rumbled for 8 more yards before being brought down at the Miami 25-yard line.
Seven plays later, the Jets kicked a field goal to take an early 3-0 lead.
Fitzpatrick’s lateral was a huge risk for New York, especially after he had already run for a first down. Fortunately for the Jets, Powell was there to turn a potential blooper into a highlight.