A rack of the albeit minimal brain the other night – with a tip of the cap to colleague Chase Hughes for the reminder – tried to figure out when the last time a quarterback started for a third team against the Redskins.
Look at the first six passers:
- Eli Manning: 1 (Giants).
- Kevin Kolb: 2 (Eagles, Cardinals).
- Tony Romo: 1 (Cowboys).
- Sam Bradford: 1 (Rams).
- Michael Vick: 2 (Falcons, Eagles).
- Cam Newton: 1 (Panthers).
(It isn’t likely to change the rest of the year because the Redskins face Manning, Romo and Vick again plus the likes of Brady, Sanchez and Ponder).
When Ryan Fitzpatrick, freshly minted Friday with a six-year contract that includes $24 million guaranteed, starts Sunday for Buffalo against the Redskins, it will be his third start against Washington … with his third different team. He lost with St. Louis in 2005 and won with Cincinnati in 2008.
Combing over the Redskins’ results the past decade, the one that sticks out is Vinny Testaverde. He started against the Redskins in 1989 (with Tampa Bay), 1997 (with Baltimore), 2003 (with the Jets) and 2004 (with Dallas).
The difference: Vinny was 39 when he reached Team 3; Fitzpatrick is 28 years old.
Fitzpatrick’s two previous starts against the Redskins have certainly been eventful.
December 2005: Redskins at St. Louis
The Redskins traveled to St. Louis reeling, having lost three straight games, the last being when LaDainian Tomlinson ran over Ryan Clark during an overtime-winning run (which many of us than on the beat later thought was enough for the coaches to think Clark wasn’t worthy of a new contract … they signed Adam Archuleta. Sorry for the flashback).
Fitzpatrick made his first NFL start, subbing for Marc Bulger, He was 19-of-30 the previous week in relief, but everybody predicted a tough day for The Kid, who was drafted in the seventh round that spring. He was 21-of-36 passing for 163 yards and one interception. But he wasn’t the story.
The Redskins won 24-9, triggering a December To Remember, a five-game winning streak to reach the playoffs, where they beat Tampa Bay before losing at Seattle.
Clinton Portis rushed 27 times for 136 yards and Rock Cartwright rushed nine times for 118 yards. It remains Rock’s only 100-yard game.
(Note: This was the last time the Redskins beat a game against a true rookie quarterback starter)
December 2008: Redskins at Cincinnati.
Fitzpatrick is 16-of-29 for 209 yards and one touchdown in the Bengals’ 20-13 win over the Redskins. This game included the infamous goal-line sequence in which fullback Mike Sellers scored on a 1-yard belly play (but Marvin Lewis challenged and won the call) and then the same play was called – Sellers fumbled at the 1-yard line.
The leading tacklers that day for the Redskins: Linebacker H.B. Blades and safety Michael Green.
The next day, coach Jim Zorn uttered perhaps famous – or infamous – comment. Mired in a 1-5 skid (after a 6-2 start), The Z Man said: “I just feel like the worst coach in America, to have to lose the way we’re losing.”
Z Man’s Redskins beat Philadelphia the next week and finished the season 8-8. We all know what happened the next year.