Rex Ryan's defensive game plan last Sunday against the New England Patriots was as soft as puppy shit. That's my big takeaway after watching the film.
I couldn't understand how the Bills could go from absolutely annihilating the Colts and Andrew Luck just a week ago, to turning around and giving up damn near 500 yards passing and 40 points in a loss to the Patriots. So I turned on the coaches tape to try to get to the bottom of how Tom Brady torched the Bills defense so effectively this weekend. The film tells me at least part of the reason for the Bills' disparate performances in their last two games was much less aggressive play calling from Ryan against New England. The eye in the sky don't lie.
And that friggin' sucks.
OK, so maybe the Bills didn't have to blitz the Patriots 27 times like they did against the Colts. However, just 15 blitzes on a day where Brady dropped back to pass 65 times looks like Rex Ryan lost his nerve in real time. Oh, you can talk all that shit you want during the week, and believe me I'm usually cool with whatever he says, but you had damn sure better back it up on Sundays. That didn't happen in this case. You can't be a bully playing passively, you just can't.
It wasn't just that the Bills didn't blitz much, it was also that they were soft in coverage as well. Talk about a shitty combination. What's the damn use of not sending an extra rusher if you don't effectively use that extra defender in coverage? That guy could've been used to help double team Rob Gronkowski or Julian Edelman -- who combined for 18 receptions, more than 200 yards and three touchdowns. But oh no, the coverage was some old "sit on your heels and try to react" bullshit. Half the time the corners weren't even up on the line in press, for goodness sake.
The crazy part is that, for much of the game, Brady was all about getting the ball out of his hand as quickly as possible even though the Bills weren't blitzing. Even with Ryan only rushing four or fewer for the majority of the game, his secondary still couldn't cover 5-yard out routes from the slot or quick crossing routes over the middle. Don't even get me started on how badly they were covering routes up the seam, because that was a crying damn shame.
So what exactly did the Bills gain from that conservative game plan on defense after all that?
An ass kicking, that's what!
Don't get me wrong, the Bills have an excellent front four. The problem is that they had damn near zero shot to hit Brady, let alone sack him because, as I mentioned previously, he was getting the ball out on time. I just don't understand why Ryan wouldn't at least send a fifth rusher for most of the game. That would have, in theory, put Brady at risk of being hit with all five guys up front having one-on-one rushes. The more he gets hit, the higher the likelihood for some misfires. Rushing Brady with four might as well have been a seven-on-seven period for him.
It gets even more confusing when you consider that the Patriots went empty backfield on 20 occasions during the game. That would've set Brady up to take even more clean hits if the Bills had rushed five. Instead, Brady was blitzed on only three of those 20 plays.
The next time the single high safety actually helps to break up a pass against the Patriots will be the first time this season. No matter who lined up in the deep middle, they just seemed to find themselves out of position to make a play on the ball. You had running back Dion Lewis lined up out wide with a linebacker trying to cover him on a deep ball and no safety help happen multiple times on Sunday.
After watching this film, it's truly a wonder the Patriots didn't hang half a hundred on the Bills last weekend, but I bet the Bills won't be so lucky if they come with the same weak shit the next time they play.
I'm a Rex Ryan fan and I am pulling for the guy to do well in Buffalo, but the fact remains that he wussed out Sunday against Brady and the Patriots. For all that big ass talk, he wasn't aggressive enough and it cost his team the game.
I'd much rather see the Bills give up all those yards and points while getting after the quarterback and playing press man, rather than the crap I just watched on the coaches tape. I'd bet Bills fans could probably live with that too, because that's what they thought they were getting with Rex Ryan in the first place.
If the Bills are going to have any hope of knocking the Patriots from the top of the division, Ryan CANNOT be afraid to send heat after Brady just like he did against Luck. Sure, he might get burnt on a few of those calls, but in retrospect, it's apparent that Brady is going to get his, regardless. At the very least, I hope he lets the defense go out with their guns blazing next time if they're going to go out anyway, rather than this Mickey Mouse, play-not-to-lose bullshit Ryan pulled on Sunday.
His players deserved better than that, so did everybody else.