Houston's Fitzpatrick eager to face former team

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been subjected to quite a bit of trash talk from the Buffalo Bills this week as he prepares to face his former team for the first time.

He expected the jabs from his old teammates, but he's also dealing with dissension from another area in the days leading up to Sunday's game.

"I'm still trying to convince my seven-year-old in this game at least to be a Texans fan and not a Bills fan," Fitzpatrick said. "And then my youngest daughter was born in Buffalo. So we're kind of a torn household right now. But I'm trying to convince them that we've got to root for the Texans now."

Fitzpatrick spent 2009-2012 in Buffalo, starting each game in his last two years there before he was relegated to a backup role. They attempted to restructure his contract before the 2013 season, but couldn't come to an agreement and he was released.

He joined the Texans this offseason after playing in Tennessee last year.

"I would have loved to have stayed in Buffalo and all that, but things happen, and things happen for a reason," he said. "I had a great experience in Tennessee last year and now moving to Houston, and getting a chance to start and play from Day 1, so things have worked out for me."

He did admit that this week means a little more to him that a regular game.

"This is a special game for me, I think partly just because I've got so many great friends still that are over on the other side of the ball, guys that I'm going to be excited to watch," he said. "I'm sure they're going to be excited to hit me and to watch me play."

Fitzpatrick remains close with many of the Bills including running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, defensive tackle Kyle Williams, center Eric Wood and tight end Scott Chandler. He said he's been texting with many of them this week, but wouldn't share specifics of any of their correspondence.

"There's been a lot of funny things, but no, it's all kind of behind the scenes stuff," he said. "Maybe some unflattering photos going back-and-forth as well. Hopefully nobody hacks into the iCloud for those."

Jackson raved about Fitzpatrick and talked about how close he was with the quarterback. That affinity obviously doesn't extend to Sunday.

"Not this week," Jackson said. "He's got to have the worst game of his career against us this week, and I'll be OK with that."

Fitzpatrick is looking to bounce back from a tough loss to the Giants where he threw three interceptions after not turning the ball over in Houston's first two games.

Interceptions have been a problem in Fitzpatrick's career and he had 12 in 11 games last season for the Titans. His worst season in that regard came in 2011 with Buffalo when he had 24 touchdown passes and a career-high 23 interceptions.

"It's lessons that I know and I've done in the past and tried to stay away from and need to just continue to play smarter," he said. "It's not necessarily something that's a new lesson, but it's a friendly reminder and a costly reminder that I need to be smart with what I'm doing."

But coach Bill O'Brien and Fitzpatrick's teammates are quick to point out that the turnovers on Sunday were certainly not all his fault.

"Everyone has a part in that," left tackle Duane Brown said. "I think myself and the rest of us up front have to do a great job of holding up in pass protection and giving him a lot of time to operate and get comfortable and I think that's where it starts."

Fitzpatrick has thrown for 634 yards and four touchdowns and had a rushing touchdown last week. The Texans had trouble finding an offensive rhythm in the loss to the Giants without running back Arian Foster, who missed the game with a hamstring injury. He's listed as day to day and Fitzpatrick is trying not to put too much emphasis on whether or not he plays this week.

"Arian ... (is) obviously a special talent and you want all your guys to play every week," Fitzpatrick said. "If he goes, great. If he doesn't, I thought (Alfred) Blue did a great job with some of the runs and we're real confident with the guys behind him."


AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed to this report.


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