Just four games into the 2013 season, the Tennessee Titans find themselves doing something they'd hope to avoid; they're turning to their back up quarterback.
Jake Locker is out for “a few weeks” with a sprained hip and knee and now Ryan Fitzpatrick is running the Titans offense.
When Fitzpatrick signed with the Titans this spring he did not know if he would ever play a meaningful snap with the team.
He was getting over $6-million over two-years to be Locker's backup. Fitzpatrick was used to being the starter in Buffalo, but said he had come to terms with his new role in Nashville, he also said he “wants to play,” so yes, he is excited about the opportunity.
Fitzpatrick steps in as quarterback in one of the NFL's biggest games of the week with the 3-1 Titans hosting the 4-1 Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs boast a defense ranked in the top 10 and a roster that included eight Pro Bowl players last season.
Fitzpatrick also has credentials. In his 9th season out of Harvard Fitzpatrick has thrown for over 14,000 career yards and 93 touchdowns.
The big stat the Titans have to be concerned with are his 81 career interceptions. Tennessee has not turned the ball over this season and Fitzpatrick admitted to feeling as much pressure about that stat as anything when he hits the field Sunday.
Head coach Mike Munchak wants Fitzpatrick to be himself and says if he does make a bad throw it is up to his teammates to break it up and bail him out.
Turnovers will likely determine the outcome Sunday. The Titans and Chiefs are tied for first in the NFL this season in turnover margin.
The Titans are a three point underdog Sunday at LP Field, but as Fitzpatrick knows, sometimes unexpected things happen.