Buffalo was whipped into a frenzy ahead of Sunday’s visit from the Patriots and Bills coach Rex Ryan was one of the leaders of the effort to get both the team and the fans amped up for the game.
The players seemed to be too amped up. After a successful opening drive left the Bills with a 7-0 lead, things went way off track. The Patriots ran off to a 37-13 lead as the Bills fell apart thanks to sloppy play, thoughtless penalties and a general inability to handle the moment.
Ryan said at his Monday press conference that he was happy that the team fought their way back to make it a 40-32 final score, but that the film of the game “was pretty much as bad as I thought” in terms of how the Bills played in total. Ryan, who said Sunday that he was “outcoached” by Bill Belichick, also said that he’s learned that the team has to take greater care on the emotional side of things the next time around.
“I’m recognizing that we have to have that controlled emotion,” Ryan said, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com “Bigger game, calmer you have to be.”
This isn’t Ryan’s first rodeo and it’s not the first time that one of his teams has fallen flat after days of build-up to a big game, so he’s had opportunities to learn those lessons in the past. The fact that his style has remained intact through his firing from the Jets and hiring by the Bills makes it hard to think this game will lead to sweeping and lasting stylistic changes.