Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will making his fourth-career start against the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night and while the Harvard product has yet to register a win against black and gold, he figures to be a tough opponent nonetheless.
For starters, while Fitzpatrick has just as many interceptions as touchdown passes (6), heading into the Monday night contest against the Steelers, all six of his picks have come with his offense needing 10 yards or more on the play in question. He’s also only been picked off twice on third downs this season to boot.
Fitzpatrick’s completion ratio of 65.0% heading into Monday night’s game is on pace to be the best of his career and the same goes for his 7.93 yards per attempt stat that he currently totes.
As far as sacks go, Fitzpatrick has only been put on the ground 10 times through the first six games. Keeping with the third down theme, only three of those 10 sacks have come on the money down. You should also like to know that seven of those sacks took place when the Texans were trailing on the scoreboard.
So where is Fitzpatrick’s weakness being as he’s tough to sack and intercept? Not surprisingly, it’s on third down and long. When faced with third down and six or more yards, Fitzpatrick has completed just 17 of 30 passes attempted. Only seven of those completions, resulted in first downs.
The recipe for the Steelers defense Monday night against the Texans is quite simple and it obviously starts with stopping the run on early downs and getting Fitzpatrick in as many of third and long situations as they can.