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Pete Carroll to Rex Ryan after Monday night standoff: ‘Coach your own guys’ 11.08.16 at 4:54 pm ET
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Pete Carroll

Pete Carroll

Looks like there’s some bad blood between the Bills and Seahawks.

After last night’s showdown between Buffalo and Seattle — a game marked by some truly awful officiating — Rex Ryan took some shots at the Seahawks, and Richard Sherman in particular. Sherman collided with Buffalo kicker Dan Carpenter on a field-goal attempt at the end of the first half, a play where there was no roughing the kicker called.

In the same game, Sherman picked off Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and looked straight at Ryan after the pick.

“He’s mean mugging like he’s doing and whatever,” Ryan said after the contest, acknowledging Sherman’s stare after the interception. “The guy’s a great player. I guess it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I thought he roughed our kicker. It was a ridiculous play, no question. Then he’s over on the sideline, taunting us. So I had some words. I think I said, ‘You’re too good of a player to act like an ass.’ I think that’s what I said.”

That didn’t sit well with Carroll.

”I just wish he would coach his own team,” Carroll said on 710 ESPN Radio in Seattle on Tuesday. “That’s it. Coach your own guys.”

Ryan answered when informed of Carroll’s comments.

“Next time I’m asked a question about one of Pete’s players, I should ask him what the appropriate response is,” Ryan said during a conference call Tuesday.

Read More: Pete Carroll, Rex Ryan, Richard Sherman,
Rex Ryan concedes AFC East after blowout loss, Bills now playing for wild card spot 10.30.16 at 6:33 pm ET
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Rex Ryan pretty much gave up on winning the AFC East after Sunday's loss. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Rex Ryan pretty much gave up on winning the AFC East after Sunday’s loss. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Rex Ryan is one of the most honest and direct coaches in the NFL and after the the Bills’ 41-25 loss to the Patriots at home on Sunday, he sure was honest as the coach basically gave up all hope of winning the AFC East.

With the loss, the Bills are now 4-4, while the Patriots are 7-1.

Being a full three games back with only eight games left to play, Ryan all but gave up on winning the division. (The Patriots are 7-1, the Dolphins are 3-4, while the Jets are 3-5, but both seemingly not in a position to challenge New England.)

“I mean, it’s the halfway point, but I think in the division, it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to win your division when you just got beat by — how many games are they up by? Three? Something like that, so I don’t see that changing,” Ryan said. “I just told you the truth, but I never said it was going to ruin our season. I thought within winning the division you’re pretty much shot if you really think we can really run the table and still win it. I don’t think so.”

The coach admitted the Bills are now playing for a wild card spot.

“Well, I would think that’s what you’re [playing for],” he said. “That team is three games up on us and I think at the halfway point they’ve lost one game. And No. 12 [Tom Brady] is back, so yeah, I don’t see that happening [winning the division]. I hope I am wrong.”

“As bad as you want to be negative-wise, I get it,” Ryan added. I get it. We’re halfway through the season, but we’ll see. We have a lot of football left to be played. I believe in this team maybe more so than others.”

Read More: Rex Ryan,
Scouting Report: What you have to know about Patriots-Bills 10.29.16 at 10:05 am ET
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Rob Gronkowski has almost always played well against his old hometown team.  (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski has almost always played well against his old hometown team. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Everything you have to know about this Sunday’s game at New Era Field between the Patriots and Bills.

WHEN THE PATRIOTS RUN THE BALL

New England is in a great place when it comes to the ground game. Over the first half of the season, LeGarrette Blount has emerged as one of the best and sturdiest backs in the league with 143 carries for 566 yards and eight rushing touchdowns (already a career-high). Blount’s totals have dropped off slightly since he was asked to shoulder most of the offensive load over the first four games of the season, but he still closed out the Steelers last week with a season-high 127 yards. Thanks in large part to the work of Blount, the Patriots are sixth-best in the league on the ground at 122.7 rushing yards per game. On the other side of the ball, the Bills are 27th in the league against the run (125 yards per game). Now some of that is because they have been missing some key pieces along the way like defensive tackle Marcell Dareus — who is expected to make his season debut this week after sitting for a four-game suspension and dealing with a hamstring issue the last three weeks. But if Sunday’s game follows the same blueprint as last week against the Steelers — that is to say, New England gets up by seven to 10 points in the second half and needs to grind down the clock — expect Blount to get a ton of work down the stretch. Bottom line? Even with Dareus back in the lineup and Zach Brown (who leads the Bills in tackles) having a good year, no one should be surprised if Blount tops 100 yards on Sunday.

WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASS THE BALL

Despite the fact that the Bills do a pretty good job getting after the quarterback — particularly Lorenzo Alexander, who has nine sacks through seven games — this is a winnable matchup for New England for a few reasons, not the least of which is that tight end Rob Gronkowski (17 catches, 375 yards, 2 TDs) perennially feasts on the Bills. The native of upstate New York is on a bit of a roll since shaking off his early-season hamstring woes with at least 90 receiving yards a game in his last three contests. Overall, in 10 career games against Buffalo, his per game averages are some of the best of any teams he’s faced — just short of five catches and 70 yards per contest, to go along with an average of one touchdown per game. The Bills have never had a good answer for Gronkowski, and despite the fact that fellow tight end Martellus Bennett is a question mark heading into this one because of an ankle issue, there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to get his yards again this time around. After missing the first four games, Tom Brady has thrust himself into the MVP conversation with a white-hot start (76-for-101, 1,004 yards, 8 TDs, 0 INTs, passer rating of 132.6). Overall, the Patriots are 10th in the league when it comes to the passing game at 261 yards per game.

The strength of the Buffalo defense to this point in the season is its ability to hold up against the run. The Bills are 11th in the league against the pass at 235.7 yards per game allowed. They do a good job generating pressure ( Alexander’s nine sacks leads a team with 21 overall, good for third in the league), and they do a good job taking the football away. Buffalo is second in the league when it comes to turnover rate at plus-eight, trailing only the Vikings (plus-11). Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Nickell Robey-Coleman have two interceptions each, while linebacker Preston Brown has two fumble recoveries and Alexander has three forced fumbles. One thing worth noting — according to these totals from Football Outsiders, the Bills have a number of strengths when it comes to pass defense, including good numbers defending No. 2 receivers and backs. However, Buffalo appears to be vulnerable against No.1 receivers (the Bills have allowed an 7.6 catches and 78.8 receiving yards to top receivers, 31st overall) and defending the middle of the field (FO has them last when it comes to allowing pass plays between the hash marks). Something to keep in mind.

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Read More: LeGarrette Blount, LeSean McCoy, Lorenzo Alexander, Marcell Dareus
Rex Ryan implies Jacoby Brissett broke unwritten rule in Week 4 matchup 10.27.16 at 3:30 pm ET
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The Bills and Patriots were involved in a pregame altercation the last time the two teams met. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

The Bills and Patriots were involved in a pregame altercation the last time the two teams met. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — A day after two members of the Bills secondary — Nickell Robey-Coleman and Stephon Gilmore — said they would retaliate again if Patriots players ran through their pregame warmups this Sunday, Rex Ryan spoke on the matter once again.

The Bills coach downplayed the incident, saying it wouldn’t be an issue this coming Sunday, but did imply Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett broke an unwritten rule when he ran on to the Bills’ side of the field during pregame warmups in the Week 4 meeting.

“It’s no big deal. It’s kind of an unwritten thing in the NFL,” Ryan told reporters, via ESPN’s Mike Rodak. “So whatever happens, it’s no big deal. Focus is on just playing the game.”

Added Ryan: “I mean, you got your spot on the field where you’re supposed to be, and that’s just the way it is. It’s always been that way for the 20 years I’ve been in the league and much longer than that. But trust me, it’s no big deal. I’ve never thought one second of it. It’s about the game, and that’s all that matters.”

Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman added he doesn’t believe it will be an issue Sunday afternoon when the two teams meet again.

“That stuff happens,” he said. “It really has no effect on the game, at all. We’re not looking for anything like that. You don’t anticipate anything like that happening. So we’ll get ready to play Sunday, 1 o’clock. Whenever kickoff is, we’ll be ready to go.”

Read More: Rex Ryan,
Rex Ryan concedes Tom Brady isn’t going away anytime soon: ‘I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him better’ 10.26.16 at 8:28 pm ET
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Nov 23, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball as Buffalo Bills defensive end Alex Carrington (98) rushes during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Bills have Tom Brady on the run Sunday? (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Turns out the media and fans aren’t the only ones who’ve been pretty amazed at what Tom Brady has done in his three games back from suspension.

Rex Ryan, the next coach who gets a chance to contain him on Sunday in Buffalo, thinks the Patriots quarterback could be playing the best football of his career.

To wit, Brady has completed 76 of 101 passes (75 percent), throwing eight touchdown passes without an interception while posting an astronomically high 132.6 quarterback rating in three games. Philip Rivers is next at 102.4 in his seven games.

“I mean it’s almost like, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him better,” Ryan beamed during Wednesday’s conference call with reporters. “I mean he he’s played in the league for 17 years, 18 years, something like that. Obviously, he puts the work in and everything else and it’s just a real credit to him. Like, I keep thinking if I stay in this conference long enough, that maybe that dude will retire but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

Brady, himself, said just two hours before Ryan’s conference call that he’s feeling good at this stage of the season.

“I always feel pretty good, I really do,” Brady said. “It feels like I’m just kind of getting going in football season and it’s already the halfway point.”

What does Brady expect from Ryan on Sunday in Buffalo?

“I think he does a really good job of playing to the strengths of his players. I think that’s what he does really well as a coach,” Brady said. “I think there’s an element of what you prepare for, you may not get many of those things. We’ve played him sometimes when he’s been blitzing a lot, and he doesn’t blitz as much at all. Then he hasn’t been blitzing much at all and then he blitzes us at all. I think you just have to be prepared for everything, which is a bit of a challenge because there’s only so much time in the week that you have to prepare.
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Read More: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Rex Ryan
Rex Ryan compliments New England media: ‘You guys made sure I was in the right frame of mind for that game’ at 2:50 pm ET
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Rex Ryan complimented the Patriots media on Wednesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Rex Ryan complimented the Patriots media on Wednesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — The last time the New England media spoke to Rex Ryan on a conference call, it didn’t go so well as it ended with Ryan getting the last word in by saying, “I’ll show you average” after he was referred to as an average coach.

In that game (Oct. 2), the Bills shutout the Patriots, 16-0 at Gillette Stadium, but they were also without Tom Brady.

Ryan thanked the New England media for what happened in his latest conference call, held Wednesday afternoon leading into Sunday’s game in Buffalo.

“I want to compliment you guys, you guys made sure I was in the right frame of mind for that game,” Ryan said.

Another topic from the Week 4 matchup was Ryan joking he had inside sources at Gillette Stadium that told him Jacoby Brissett, not Jimmy Garoppolo would start at quarterback.

Ryan confirmed on Wednesday he was joking.

“A lot of secrets. A lot of secrets are still floating around there.” he said. “I am getting some good intel. By the way, it worked out great and then I was afraid — ‘Man, someone is actually going to believe that.’ I had no idea who the heck the quarterback would be, but I darn sure pretended, didn’t I?

“My sources tell me Brady will be the quarterback [this week].”

As for this week’s game, Ryan knows things will be different from the last meeting, especially with Brady at quarterback. He also knows just because one thing happens in one meeting, doesn’t mean it will always carry over to the next one.

“Well, obviously every week is different,” Ryan said. “When you look at, we were the best team that day and I think obviously there are circumstances with things, but that’s all that proved. The next game you have to go out and it’s a brand new circumstances, brand new, players are different, or whatever. You can go back to when I got beat 45-3 by them, that never met anything the following time you played them. That’s kind of the way it is. It’s just like here. It’s the same thing. It really doesn’t mean anything.”

Read More: Rex Ryan,
5 things to know about Bills: Buffalo’s fortunes tied to health of RB LeSean McCoy 10.25.16 at 11:12 am ET
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LeSean McCoy's health will bear watching this week. (Kevin Hoffman/USA Today Sports)

LeSean McCoy’s health will bear watching this week. (Kevin Hoffman/USA Today Sports)

Five things you have to know about the Bills, who will host the Patriots Sunday at New Era Field.

1. They run the ball better than almost anyone else in the league. It remains to be seen just how impactful LeSean McCoy’s hamstring issue is going to be — he left last Sunday’s game against Miami after re-aggravating the injury — but when McCoy is right, the Bills have one of the best running games in the NFL. They average 152.3 rushing yards per contest, the second-best total in the league behind the Cowboys (161.2). McCoy leads the team with 112 carries, 598 yards and six touchdowns. (The 5.3 yards per carry is second in the league.) Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has 41 carries for 271 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Buffalo topped the 100-yard rushing plateau four times in its first seven games of the season, including 134 in the first meeting with the Patriots and (Are we sure this isn’t a misprint?) 313 yards on the ground against the Niners. The key to everything? McCoy, who is as dynamic a back as you’ll find. His health will certainly bear watching over the course of the week. There was plenty of debate surrounding the wisdom of having him try to play against the Dolphins. If Rex Ryan blew him out against Miami and isn’t available for this week’s showdown with the Patriots, the folks in upstate New York won’t be happy.

2. They struggle in the passing game. Taylor has made real gains under center over the last year, but the bottom line is that, at least statistically, he’s no better than a middle-of-the-road quarterback. In seven games, he’s completed 60 percent of his passes (116-for-192) for 1,297 yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 91.9. When he throws it, he’s going to look for wide receiver Robert Woods (25 catches on 37 targets, 240 yards, 1 TD), tight end Charles Clay (24 catches, 36 targets, 268 yards), McCoy (20 catches, 23 targets, 97 yards, 1 TD) and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (12 catches, 32 targets, 258 yards, 3 TDs). At 21.5 yards per catch, Goodwin is the closest thing to a true deep threat/home-run hitter the Bills have, at least until Sammy Watkins comes back from his foot injury.

3. They’ve been really good at turnover ratio. The Bills are good at taking care of the football, and also good at taking it away. Buffalo is second in the league when it comes to turnover rate at plus-eight, trailing only the Vikings (plus-11). Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Nickell Robey-Coleman have two interceptions each, while linebacker Preston Brown has two fumble recoveries and Lorenzo Alexander has three forced fumbles. On the other side of the ball, while Taylor isn’t overwhelming on offense, only three other teams have thrown fewer picks this season than the Bills (New England, Dallas and Minnesota).

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Read More: Charles Clay, Colton Schmidt, Dan Carpenter, LeSean McCoy
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