Wrecks Ryan’s tenure as the head honcho of the Buffalo Bills came to mind-numbing, explosive end last Sunday in the Lid when the visiting Fins stuck it to the Bills in overtime, 34-31.
The series of events were train rex, and led to one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent Bills history.
Ryan and his twin frat brother Rob were fired a week early, in all likelihood for wanting to win the last game of their careers. You can’t blame them for wanting to win, but you can blame them for most everything else that went wrong this season outside of a slew of injuries.
Rex simply didn’t deliver on his bluster. I’m not one to care about what he says in press conferences and often found him entertaining, but he was all hat and no cattle. His defense stunk and he went down with the shit. His game mismanagement was blatant, highlighted by an unfathomable choice to punt from his own 40 on 4th and 3 with about four minutes to go in overtime.
It was a no brainer for Ryan, which means he used no part of his brain on that decision.
Ryan was also skewered for his defense only having 10 men on the field when OJay Ajayi took off for 57 yards and sealed the game for the Fish. Ajayi had about 1000 yards rushing in two games against Ryan’s defense. Normally a HC wouldn’t be responsible for counting his players, but he is accountable for having more assistant coaches on defense than players on the field. The too many cooks syndrome likely caused the confusion over Stephon Gilmore’s concussion protocol, and according to Marcel Dareus this week, was a big part of the overall collapse of the Bills defense and Rex’s career.
Between Rex, Rob, Dennis Thurman, Ed Reed, and twelve other guys, too much information was put on the players which blocked them as much as the opposing teams. And we didn’t even get the famed Rex Ryan defense.
So now Rex is defamed.
As for the game, a guy the salesman Rex was never really sold on, Dan Carpenter, missed two crucial long FGs he usually makes, which would have won the game. You’d figure a Carpenter would be glorious on Christmas Eve but he likely put three nails in his own coffin as the Bills will be looking for a new kicker next season.
On a good note, the Bills amassed almost 600 yards in offense. Tyrod Taylor had the best game of his career. Sammy Watkins was unstoppable. Shady juked for 128 and a score. Dizzy averaged 9 yards a pop. Charles Claymation had 8 grabs and 2 TDs. TT led a fourth quarter comeback down two scores and threw a dart TD to Clay with 9 seconds left to tie the game.
With any kind of defense the Bills win. But the Bills needed a miracle to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Well it was Christmas Eve and miracles do happen. Every team the Bills needed to win won. Even the big upsets.
Except the Bills.
Which left every Bills fan with a big upset stomach. So the death to the salesman came a week earlier than expected, as Rex’s fate was likely cemented by the uninspired effort of his entire team against the Steelers a couple weeks earlier.
On Monday, Rex was fired. He wanted to play Tyrod in his final game and beat the stinking Jets. The Bills front office, especially its owners and GM, needed to protect themselves from Tyrod getting hurt and having to automatically payout their 27.5 million bonus.
The team wants it to be theirs, and their new HC’s decision, so TMobile will be immobilized and EJ Manual will start. Who woulda thunkit.
With Rex gone, Anthony Lynn is the interim coach and is considered the front runner to keep the job. With the Bills Brass lacking brass balls, however, as well as any semblance of order or knowing what they are doing, anything is possible.
As far as I am concerned, handing over the reigns to Lynn is fine as long as he can recruit a solid 4-3 defensive coordinator, hopefully one with a lot of experience. Gus Bradley seems to be a perfect fit.
I’m not at all convinced the Bills know who their next HC will be. There are likely a few surprises still to come. The Pegulas love to spend money and love to make a big splash. I imagine that they are going to go hard after a couple big names, like Cowher or Gruden or the like, and throw a boatload of money at them. I doubt any of them will really take the bait and get back into coaching, but the point is, I don’t think we or they know who the HC is going to be, and Whaley is smart enough to not force a guy like Tyrod on a coach, nor would one of the big names accept a player forced on them.
Chances are, it still comes down to Lynn being hired, and if that is the case, I think Lynn wants to keep TT, especially after watching the press conference. TT is not great but makes a lot of plays, could get better, disguises a lot of weaknesses, is much better with Sammy, helps the run game tremendously, doesn’t turn it over, and most importantly, there isn’t anyone better available. The Bills are seventh in scoring.
I think we can win with Tyrod. I think if we had Schwartz here for the defense, and this offense the last two years, we make the playoffs both years.
But the Pegulas and Russ Brandon, and myself for that matter, fell for a salesman.
In another bizarre and sad twist to the year end tumult, the franchise lost two of its members when ST coach Bruce de Haven, as well as former safety Keion Carpenter both passed away. Awful news on an awful week.
But next week is a new year. The Bills still have one game to play and we may even get a glimpse at Cardale Jones as he will be #2. We get a sneak peak at Anthony Lynn’s style and in game decisions and perhaps an idea of how he gets his guys up for a game. A meaningless one game audition doesn’t ultimately show a whole lot but it will be fascinating to see.
So come on down to the madhouse on Santa Monica and start the new year on a high note with cold adult beverages, free wings at halftime, and the best bitching found anywhere in the city.
How’s that for a sales pitch?
By Pete Rosen