Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan defended his team’s 17-penalty performance against the Giants on Sunday, saying it showed his players had “fight.”
“Well, I'm going to tell you something: I’m proud of the way this team played,” Ryan said. “Can you play a lot smarter? Absolutely. But I’ll take a team that can fight over a team that won’t—that will sit back and take it—any day of the week. And bring on the next team. So that’s how I look at it. Give me a team that’s got some fight, and we’ll compete to the very end, right, wrong or indifferent. No matter how good the officiating is, or whatever.”
The Bills now have 47 penalties for 428 yards, which are the highest totals in the NFL. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported that Giants coach Tom Coughlin told his team before the game that the Bills would beat themselves by accumulating penalties. Buffalo had two touchdowns reversed after penalties in the 24–10 loss, but Ryan defended his team’s performance.
“We never lost because we had two touchdowns called back,” Ryan said. “That wasn't the reason we lost, but it took a little wind out of our sails.”
Several Bills players were unhappy with the officiating in the game, including defensive tackle Kyle Williams, linebacker Nigel Bradham and defensive end Jerry Hughes. Williams said the team has developed a reputation for earning penalties, which he believes has led the officials to be on the lookout for reasons to penalize them. But despite what his players feel is a growing reputation, Ryan does not think the team has a discipline problem.
“You guys write the story so you’ll write it the way you want to write it,” Ryan told reporters. “I know the one thing I know for a fact is that we have heart. The discipline things? I get it. When you have 17 penalties, that’s obviously a sign of lack of discipline. That’s not the real deal, but this is a free country. Write what you believe.”
Buffalo now has a 2–2 record and will play the Tennessee Titans, who are 1–2 after a Week 4 bye, in Week 5.
- Erin Flynn