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NFL morning after: Rex Ryan’s revenge headlines a wild Week 17

ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 03:  Head Coach Rex Ryan of the Buffalo Bills and Calvin Pace #97 of the New York Jets exchange congratulations after the Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets 22-17 at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

My favorite part of Week 17 of the NFL season, every year, is when a team with nothing to play for beats a team with everything to play for. And it was particularly special yesterday in Buffalo.

Bills coach Rex Ryan led his team to a surprising win over his former team, eliminating the Jets from playoff contention. It was the first time in NFL history that a coach had knocked the team he coached the previous year out of the playoffs.

“There’s a lot of teams that would have mailed it in. This team fought through a lot of outside negativity,” Ryan said after the game.

He’s right about that: There are a lot of teams that would have mailed it in. We saw some of those teams yesterday. I thought the Cowboys, in particular, looked like they simply didn’t care yesterday, as they fell behind Washington 24-0. Some teams, when they’re out of the playoff race, give up.

But Ryan didn’t let his team give up, and that made for a compelling Week 17 matchup. Another team that didn’t give up was Miami, which upset the Patriots and upended the AFC playoff picture in the process. Even teams that came up short, like the Chargers and Raiders, played tough, competitive games against playoff teams. It was a fun Week 17 because several teams played better than we had any reason to think they would.

Ryan did not have a good first season coaching the Bills. He has to fix his defense, and if he doesn’t he’s going to be on the hot seat a year from now. But he did have a very good Week 17.

Here are my other thoughts from the final day of the regular season:

Passing numbers have become silly. I mentioned that the Cowboys fell behind 24-0 to start the game against Washington. That meant that most of the game was garbage time, and in today’s NFL, a mediocre quarterback can put up huge numbers in garbage time. So Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore ended the game with 435 yards. That’s an incredible total — Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach never had more than 339 yards in a game in his entire career. But these days, a 435-yard game isn’t really anything special. It’s just something a mediocre backup quarterback can do in garbage time.

Chuck Pagano had a pretty good run. Although Pagano won’t be back as the Colts’ head coach, he had a good four years in Indianapolis: During his tenure, the Colts never had a losing record and won three playoff games. Not many coaches can say they had three playoff wins and no losing seasons in four years, but Pagano can. And he’s gone anyway.

Cam Newton plays like no quarterback ever. Yesterday Newton scored the 43rd rushing touchdown of his NFL career, tying Steve Young’s NFL record for a quarterback. Newton has now had two different seasons with 3,500 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns, something no other player has ever done, even once. And Newton has had at least 500 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns and 4.8 yards a carry in all five of his NFL seasons. Not only is he the only quarterback in NFL history who has done that, but only four running backs in NFL history have five such seasons. Newton is already a unique figure in NFL history, and he’s only 26 years old.

Peyton Manning is back. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak made the right call when he benched Brock Osweiler for Manning yesterday. The Broncos were trailing the Chargers 13-7 when Manning took the field, but they won 27-20 with Manning leading the way. I don’t believe Manning will ever deliver one of his vintage 400-yard games of old, but I do believe Manning can beat opposing defenses with his mind even if he can no longer do it with his arm. With the regular season over and the playoffs beginning, there’s nothing more exciting heading into January than one more chance to see what Peyton Manning can do.

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52 Responses to “NFL morning after: Rex Ryan’s revenge headlines a wild Week 17”
  1. stinkymcmulligan says: Jan 4, 2016 6:34 AM

    Rex is a horrible head coach and will be fired this time next year – never to see a head coaching position ever again.

  2. bucrightoff says: Jan 4, 2016 6:38 AM

    Pagano is a significantly better coach than Lovie Smith but Pagano wants to win and Lovie wants to play ball for the owner. Guess which one keeps his job despite much worse performance?

  3. mikermiker says: Jan 4, 2016 6:50 AM

    Definitely not Karma when Marcus Cannon yanks Suh’s entire head so hard that Suh slams into Brady’s knees.

  4. skoobyfl says: Jan 4, 2016 7:00 AM

    He Rex everything.

  5. talkingproud says: Jan 4, 2016 7:07 AM

    I wouldn’t say it was entirely Rex’s fault why the Bills missed the playoffs. The Bills had quite a few crucial injuries throughout the year that really affected them. J Rookie Guard, John Miller comes to mind.

    I also have to say it was rather refreshing that the Bills went for it (and made it a few times) on fourth down. I think the Bills can really use this game as a stepping stone for a great offseason and this time next year we will be I the post-season.

    Go Bills!!!

  6. patsifurnotcheetinurnottryin says: Jan 4, 2016 7:07 AM

    Rexs revenge for what failing as a head coach and getting fired if i dont do my job or lose my company money i get fired do i get revenge for my failures

  7. jetsclaps says: Jan 4, 2016 7:14 AM

    Enough with calling it Rex’s Revenge. Revenge for what? Rex went four straight seasons without a winning record and got fired like any coach would have in the nfl. Now he’s at 5 straight seasons without a winning record and will be fired next year. Meanwhile the Jets are on the upswing.

  8. luchey says: Jan 4, 2016 7:18 AM

    Funny how the Bills had one of the leagues best defense’s last year with Jim Schwartz. Rex came in and fired him. Now we hear this:
    “Ryan did not have a good first season coaching the Bills. He has to fix his defense, and if he doesn’t he’s going to be on the hot seat a year from now. ”

    How about if you put your ego aside Rex and do what’s best for the organization…….

  9. footballfanatic says: Jan 4, 2016 7:29 AM

    No, Rex, other teams dont ‘mail it in’. Stop acting like your team is doing something special, im a bills fan and we suck. And its b/c you suck. Miami won their last game too, did they mail it in? no, does that mean they are good? no. Please stop running your mouth trying to salvage a head coaching job you obviously have no business doing.

  10. ubeengronked says: Jan 4, 2016 7:47 AM

    Wonder if the Jets fans have buyers remorse yet on Revis? Looked slow, and confused chasing around Sammy Watkins all day. Have fun with that cap number going forward.

    Bill Belicheck – right again!

  11. unclebluck says: Jan 4, 2016 7:48 AM

    stinkymcmulligan says:
    Jan 4, 2016 6:34 AM
    Rex is a horrible head coach and will be fired this time next year – never to see a head coaching position ever again.

    As a Bills fan I wish what you are saying was true but Pegula & Brandon will never admit to their incompetence with regards to selecting personnel. We’re stuck with the schmuck for 2 more years…..

  12. joetoronto says: Jan 4, 2016 7:59 AM

    Wrecks is the man again in Buffalo because they won this game. The fanboys go up and down like a toilet seat.

    Just flush baby.

  13. wwwmattcom says: Jan 4, 2016 8:09 AM

    Everyone thought Rex lost the locker room. Everyone thought Rex held the Jets back, while having Geno Smith.

    Maybe Rex is a food coach, he just needs his 20 mil. dollar player not to act like a diva.

    Maybe with a good GM Rex will be quite good.

    It’s in the nature of the league to be fired and clean house and with the revolving door at GM in nj, it was only a matter of time you make the move to fire Rex for “spinning tire” purposes.

    Jets fans have a lot to be bitter about though, losing to a 3Rd string secondary, 3Rd string running backs and their former coach

  14. iman62 says: Jan 4, 2016 8:16 AM

    Dolphins as usual win a meaningless game to lower their draft spot. Settle down, Peyton isn’t back. Pagano had Luck on a rookie contract, that cap advantage alone should have led to more playoff wins.

  15. djlowe1995 says: Jan 4, 2016 8:19 AM

    Smith: if Dallas had given up then why was the halftime score 24-14???? Is that a team that gave up? No, you saw a team that didn’t execute again and was playing with a 3rd string QB. But then again what do I expect from all the haters in the media against the Cowboys regardless of whatever they do. Who is YOUR team? Or do you not have one so you can just bash others and take no flak for yours?

  16. rocbills says: Jan 4, 2016 8:19 AM

    Bills need a new defensive coordinator with Rex’s hands off . Not that I expect this to happen .

  17. mrlaloosh says: Jan 4, 2016 8:20 AM

    HGH is amazing….

  18. questionableprovenance says: Jan 4, 2016 8:23 AM

    Ryan just did what he has been doing for the past six years: messing up the Jets’ season.

  19. jim699 says: Jan 4, 2016 8:23 AM

    I think it’s worth pointing out that both the Redskins and Texans finished a respectable 9-7 and so we don’t have a losing team hosting a playoff game this year.

  20. jim699 says: Jan 4, 2016 8:31 AM

    When the dumpster is on fire Cleveland, sometimes the best thing to do is just let it burn itself out. You don’t go out looking for more hot garbage to toss in there.

  21. r8dernation says: Jan 4, 2016 9:01 AM

    If 435 yards by Moore is mediocre now, what does that tell you about Teddy throwing for 99 yards sunday night?

  22. jjg614 says: Jan 4, 2016 9:05 AM

    The bills kicked the jets a$$ yesterday and sammy burned revis and exposed him for the OLD MAN he is!!!!!!!!

  23. thesmartestmanever says: Jan 4, 2016 9:13 AM

    But that 435 yards passing in garbage time by a mediocre quarterback is all Dallas has to hang onto this beautiful morning.

  24. adelphos33 says: Jan 4, 2016 9:15 AM

    A lot of people have trouble comparing Newton’s numbers to other quarterbacks. Just compare total yards (passing plus rushing), total touchdowns (passing plus rushing), and total turnovers (interceptions plus lost fumbles) and you will see Newton has had some all time great years. This year, 4,473 yards, 45 touchdowns, 14 turnovers.

  25. orivar says: Jan 4, 2016 9:17 AM

    The Bills had a lot of hype and I got caught up in it as well until I had to catch myself. The Bills weren’t THE best team last year, or the last few, in fact they had a lot to work on like their penalty situation that cost crucial games last year and part of why they missed the playoffs this year when added with the almost an entirely new offense and change in defensive scheme. I mean penalty heavy teams have won superbowls Ravens, Seahawks both #1 but have to be a complete team to get away with that.

    This was really a retooling year when you think about it but finally their QB & RB Musical Chairs days are hopefully over. They swapped offense for defense this year but the defense is ranked better than their offense was. In all there’s more good than bad and think they have a formula for continued success rather than hopings darts will stick cause; QB issues, RB issues, disgruntled RB issues, traded player has more success issues, coaching issues *cough*quitting*cough*.

    There was just always a weird wrench thrown in the Bills plans every year. Hopefully that’s over.

  26. rootpain says: Jan 4, 2016 9:22 AM

    The game changes significantly every decade or so. Now the change is related to the size and athleticism of the players and Cam is currently the epitome of that change. He is a great player without anyone to model himself after. He is still finding himself. And while great, in another few years he will be phenomenal.
    He is certainly fun to watch. Only question will be if his style of play is sustainable. Cause he’s not the only one that is getting big.

  27. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Jan 4, 2016 9:24 AM

    I still don’t understand the Pagano thing. 40-23, 8-8 this year with a QB situation so desperate that JOSH FREEMAN started yesterday, and it’s a no-brainer that he’s fired because he doesn’t get along with a GM who may also be fired?

    I don’t know what anyone else was watching, but without Andrew Luck, this was, no doubt, an 8-8 type of roster. Anything else would have been a massive overachievement, IMO. So what’s the rationale? He turned down a one year extension? What coach would sign a one year extension coming off an AFC Championship game appearance? He ran an embarrassing fake punt in prime time? Yes, that was stupid, but it was also run improperly by the players.

    Firing Pagano and keeping Grigson make absolutely no sense. Which is exactly why Irsay will do it.

  28. stipez says: Jan 4, 2016 9:49 AM

    Revis’ cap # is 16, 17 and 15 mil the next three years. Looks like the Jets be on Revis island now.

  29. annes22 says: Jan 4, 2016 10:00 AM

    The Patriots didn’t look as if they trying most of the time. They ran the ball over and over again, and Tommy spent most of his time in the 2nd half on the ground. When Suh hit him, he was pushed into him by a Patriot look at the play again. It’s obvious too that Olivier Vernon was after Tommy and got him several times. I find it hard they didn’t want the #1 seed, now they have lost it so next time maybe try a bit harder!!!

  30. alan226 says: Jan 4, 2016 10:14 AM

    Yaaaaay. Participation trophies all around..

  31. fanofsportsman says: Jan 4, 2016 10:27 AM

    Wow, I thought all the Jet’s trolls would at least shut up for a few days after Rex rexed their season, but I guess not.
    He did a lousy job with the D this year, but he was bit but a ton of injuries and a d-end who obviously just mailed it in this year. I am disappointed with the season, but hey, at least we beat the JETS twice!

  32. fanofsportsman says: Jan 4, 2016 10:28 AM

    Surprised you didn’t have any thoughts on the Dolphins knocking the Belicheaters out of the #1 seed, great job Dolphins!

  33. TheWizard says: Jan 4, 2016 10:40 AM

    The Patriots didn’t look as if they trying most of the time

    On offense, yes. On defense, they did look like they were trying and got torched for some big plays anyway.

    This is a good D, but without all the pieces it becomes mediocre.

  34. vadertime says: Jan 4, 2016 10:57 AM

    I was so happy to see Peyton Manning take over.

  35. bkostela says: Jan 4, 2016 11:16 AM

    It was the first time in NFL history that a coach had knocked the team he coached the previous year out of the playoffs.
    __________________________

    This has STILL never happened. The Jets would need to be in the playoffs for them to be knocked out.

  36. dickjagger says: Jan 4, 2016 11:19 AM

    All Rex did was help the Steelers get in the playoffs and prove once again that he’s a useless head coach.

  37. stogie31 says: Jan 4, 2016 11:37 AM

    Rex didn’t fire Jim Schwartz. He actually said he was fine with him coming back. Jim’s pride told him to leave. They have conflicting defensive philosophies, so he knew it wouldn’t work out.

  38. averagjoe says: Jan 4, 2016 12:05 PM

    What? No coach in NFL history had knocked the team he coached the previous year out of the playoffs? Excuuuuuuze me, but Gruden did it to Oakland, and he did it in the Super Bowl no less.

  39. sychosam28 says: Jan 4, 2016 12:08 PM

    Rex pounding his chest while he watches the playoffs at home again. Moral victories are for losers

  40. brendafortheboyz says: Jan 4, 2016 12:11 PM

    djlowe1995 says:
    Jan 4, 2016 8:19 AM
    Smith: if Dallas had given up then why was the halftime score 24-14???? Is that a team that gave up? No, you saw a team that didn’t execute again and was playing with a 3rd string QB. But then again what do I expect from all the haters in the media against the Cowboys regardless of whatever they do. Who is YOUR team? Or do you not have one so you can just bash others and take no flak for yours?
    =================================
    Touche’ I totally agree! One correction to your post is that it was our FOURTH string quarterback for the season……

  41. bettywhiteshairnet says: Jan 4, 2016 12:14 PM

    Its comical listening to all the Jets supports still talk about how bad Rex is as a coach. I’m not saying he is the answer in Buffalo and as a Bills fan Im not sold on him turning this team into a playoff contender, however, it’s time to move on Jets nation. Just think, your team could have been 12-4 instead of 10-6 if you hadn’t of lost to the horrible coach Rex Ryan and the joke of a football team that is the Buffalo Bills.

  42. fluiddarkness says: Jan 4, 2016 12:18 PM

    Garbage Time = Playing against the prevent defense. Which happens to be a garbage defense type.

    In other words, until DCs around the league learn, the worst idea of a defense will continue to antagonize everyone but themselves.

  43. controlaltdeletedeletedelete says: Jan 4, 2016 12:19 PM

    Why is the fifth win in a row over the Jets surprising?

  44. imodan says: Jan 4, 2016 12:20 PM

    stipez says:
    Jan 4, 2016 9:49 AM

    Revis’ cap # is 16, 17 and 15 mil the next three years. Looks like the Jets be on Revis island now.
    ———————————————————
    Revis will never see the second and third year of that contract and those numbers in NJ. They will release or restructure but knowing Revis his pride would never allow him to take less so it’s off to another team willing to hamstring their salary cap. Miami should have jettisoned Suh by then so there’s your leading candidate right there.

  45. Marshawn Lunch says: Jan 4, 2016 12:20 PM

    Hold on.. In one breath you say any mediocre quarterback can throw for more than 400 yards in garbage time and it’s nothing special. And in the next breath you say the Manning will never have another 400 yard game.

    Manning will surely play during garbage time at some point in the remainder of his career. And he’s one of the most prolific passers this league has ever seen. Has he got an old noodle arm now? Yes. But if Kellen Moore can do it.. Peyton F. Manning can certainly still do it!

    C’mon Man!

  46. zeke2517 says: Jan 4, 2016 12:24 PM

    Once again Rex’s band of losers wins a meaningless last game of the season. Congratulations, Canadians. Your team won a game and you still live in a city that could be destroyed and no one would notice.

    (I know you’re not Canadians. But you basically are. Move out of the sticks, gentlemen)

  47. headwoundharry says: Jan 4, 2016 1:36 PM

    Jet Nation, Happy Monday Dudes! Who you gonna be pulling for in the playoffs?

  48. FreewayJim says: Jan 4, 2016 1:44 PM

    I beg to differ, Moore’s 435 yards passing is impressive when you consider that out of 512 QB starts (256 games x 2 QB’s) there were only 11 occasions where a QB passed for 400 yards or more.

    “Passing numbers have become silly. I mentioned that the Cowboys fell behind 24-0 to start the game against Washington. That meant that most of the game was garbage time, and in today’s NFL, a mediocre quarterback can put up huge numbers in garbage time. So Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore ended the game with 435 yards. That’s an incredible total — Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach never had more than 339 yards in a game in his entire career. But these days, a 435-yard game isn’t really anything special. It’s just something a mediocre backup quarterback can do in garbage time”

  49. deweyaxewound says: Jan 4, 2016 2:50 PM

    The Jets losing their playoff berth wasn’t about the Jets team under-performing, or even Rex getting revenge and motivating the Bills – instead, it was clearly all Jay Cutler’s fault.

    ~Brandon Marshall

  50. gizzmonic says: Jan 4, 2016 6:02 PM

    5 years in a row that Rex helps the jets miss the playoffs

  51. jgedgar70 says: Jan 5, 2016 10:47 AM

    Cam is the best QB in the league, period.

  52. ginojohn says: Jan 7, 2016 3:53 PM

    Rex has a reason to be proud. i think he did a fine job this year considering all the injuries. As a Steeler fan, i salute you!!

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