One of the biggest questions surrounding the Washington Football Team in 2021 was if Ryan Fitzpatrick could stay healthy for a 17-game season. That question, unfortunately, was answered in the first half of Week 1.
ESPN's Adam Schefter initially reported that Fitzpatrick was expected to miss 6-8 weeks after suffering a hip subluxation in a Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, which led to the team placing Fitzpatrick on injured reserve. It now appears Fitzpatrick will be out for roughly eight weeks as he is currently planning to forgo surgery, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
"Theoretically, possibly he could be back a week sooner," Rapoport said Thursday. "But eight weeks is about the ballpark that I was given as far as Ryan Fitzpatrick's recovery, which means it is going to be Taylor Heinicke into November at least as the Washington Football Team's starting quarterback."
Fitzpatrick was hit by Chargers defensive end Uchenna Nwosu in the second quarter and was helped off the field, finishing 3 of 6 for 13 yards in the loss. Heinicke sparked Washington's offense, going 11 for 15 for 122 yards and a touchdown. Heinicke will start Thursday's game against the New York Giants.
"He gave us a spark when we needed it," Washington head coach Ron Rivera said of Heinicke after the loss, per ESPN's John Keim. '"When Taylor stepped in and brought some energy, that was a huge plus. There is something about Taylor; that's a huge positive. It brings a little something."
Washington was hoping Fitzpatrick would become the missing piece to lead its offense to consecutive NFC East titles. Over the past three years, Fitzpatrick has completed 64.83% of his passes for 7,986 yards for 50 touchdowns to 33 interceptions in 32 games. Fitzpatrick's passer rating has been 91.8 during the past three seasons (entering 2021) -- much higher than his career mark of 82.3.
Heinicke hasn't started a regular season game since the 2018 season, but he'll get the opportunity Thursday night against the Giants.