Making his first start since Week 17 of the 2014 season, Smith sustained his knee injury after being tackled awkwardly on a second-quarter sack by Ravens linebacker Matt Judon.
But as fans have seen with many quarterbacks, including Fitzpatrick throughout his career, it's much easier to be the backup coming in with low expectations than the starter with high team aspirations.
Fitzpatrick has been in the league for 12 years now and it would be an understatement to say that this was probably one of the most humiliating and humbling experiences of his NFL career. Coach Todd Bowles chose to start Smith over Fitzpatrick, who had thrown an NFL-leading 11 interceptions and just five touchdown passes. He also joined Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen, Thurman Thomas and Herschel Walker as the only players with 8,000 yards rushing, 4,000 yards receiving and 20 TD receptions. You don't make it as long as I have in this league and on as many teams as I have been in this league without picking myself up over and over again without believing in myself.
"I want it to die", Fitzpatrick said.
They're playoff longshots. Fitzpatrick will turn 34 next month and leads the National Football League with 11 interceptions.
That's why the comments from the "Amish Rifle" immediately after Sunday's victory came across as head-scratching at best and whiny at worst.
"Basically, the discussion has been: we're all here to do the same thing, which is to win football games", Fitzpatrick said. "Because when the owner stops believing in you, and the GM stops believing in you, and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself", Fitzpatrick said last week. "That's kind of something I've had to deal with before, something I'm dealing with now". "That's something I'm dealing with now". But the fact remains that Fitzpatrick had no one to blame for his benching but himself. It was the ideal compromise; Fitzpatrick would get paid a strong guaranteed salary, and the Jets, who had gone a surprising 10-6 past year, wouldn't be stuck with a lengthy contract. He watched the rest of the game in the second half from the sideline while wearing sweats. However, the last time he was a full-time starter, Smith did show promise. On the Jets game-winning drive, he completed all four of his passes, swiftly moving Gang Green into field goal range for Folk to win it as time expired.
If Fitzpatrick can lead the Jets to a win, he will live to see another start. Younger options in 2015 fourth-rounder Bryce Petty and 2016 second-round pick Christian Hackenberg waiting in the wings further cloud Smith's Jets' future.