The Buffalo Bills' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs could have been different if Rex Ryan elected to challenge one of two important plays that appeared to be incorrectly ruled in Kansas City's favor. He chose not to and Ryan said it's because the operators at Arrowhead Stadium never gave him a chance to have a second look at the close calls.
"Obviously you lean on the guys up top when they're showing the video. They weren't showing the video on the screen for some reason," Ryan said at his postgame press conference. "Sometimes you take chances and sometimes they work, sometimes they don't."
One of the plays Ryan didn't challenge was a 37-yard reception made by Jeremy Maclin that set up the Chiefs for a short touchdown run on the very next play. Replay of the reception appeared to show Maclin trapping the ball against the ground in a play that likely would have been overturned if Ryan challenged.
"On the 37-yarder I wasn't aware because again, I wasn't seeing the video on it," Ryan said. "So from my vantage point, I thought he caught the ball. Obviously I would've challenged it if I would've known there was any question whatsoever on a 37-yard play because it flipped the game.
"I've never seen that. That's the first time you don't see any plays. I think there's a league rule where you usually get to see some, but maybe I'm wrong on that."
He is wrong on that. While some plays require mandatory in-stadium replays (touchdowns, safeties, fumbles, interceptions, etc.), turnovers on downs and 37-yard receptions are not on that list. According to a statement from the NFL, "each coaches booth is also equipped with a standardized broadcast truck feed, which is provided directly from the instant replay booth."
On one close call, Ryan appeared to be told by the Bills team chaplain not to challenge a play that was ruled an incomplete pass, although replay appeared to show Bills wide receiver Chris Hogan making a catch. Ryan brushed that off and said the chaplain has no impact on his decision making on challenges and said again on Monday that replay decisions are his own responsibility.
Rex Ryan reiterates that he's not going to name names on who's advising him on challenges. Admits the process failed and will be changed.— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) November 30, 2015
Ryan said on Monday that the team will make changes to their challenge process, but said again complained that "when people at home see something and we don't, that can't happen."
The loss dropped the Bills to 5-6 and out of the lead for an AFC Wild Card berth. While it's mathematically impossible for the Bills to catch the New England Patriots for the AFC East, they are one game behind four 6-5 teams tied for the two Wild Card spots.