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Rex Ryan on having 10 players on field in OT: 'The most ridiculous thing I've ever seen'

Regrets?

Rex Ryan has a few.

The haggard-looking coach of the Buffalo Bills on Monday conceded that his team's 34-31 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Saturday is "about a painful a loss as I can remember."

"That's a loss that you lose sleep over," Ryan said. "For myself, questioning things and what we should have done different or whatever, I can say this, it's a hell of a lot easier to do that in hindsight than it is the moment it happens. To say that this is obviously the toughest defeat that I've taken to this point as the Bills' coach, they all hurt, but this one especially."

A couple plays in particular have come to define the loss that knocked the Bills out of the postseason for the 17th consecutive season. One of those is the 57-yard run by Miami's Jay Ajayi in overtime that got the Dolphins into range for a game-winning field goal. On the play, the Bills had just 10 players on the field.

"I'm responsible for everything. But everybody professionally has a job to do. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen, and it should have never happened, but it did happen. And it cost us the game. That's how I look at it. That play right there contributed mightily in costing us the football game."

So why did it happen?

"It's my responsibility. That's all I'll say," Ryan said. "It's my responsibility, like everything is 100 percent on that field. Every bit of it is my responsibility. I've got broad shoulders. I'll own up to it, and I'll take it. Every bit of it, but I know what happened."

Not including Ryan, the Bills have 27 coaches on staff.

"The information should have been there." the head coach conceded. "We should have had 11 guys on the field. That's the truth. That's a true statement, a 100-percent true statement."

The other play was the decision to punt on fourth and 2 from the Bills' 41-yard line with just over 4 minutes left in overtime.

"It's easy to say that now," Ryan said Monday, when asked if he has questioned the call to punt. "I told our coaches anything inside 2 yards, be ready to go for it, even when we were backed up. I told Anthony Lynn, 'the last two drives of the game, the same way.' After we got the stop, and I know it says fourth-and-2, but it's a long 2, it's more than that.

"At the time, it's like, let's pin them back. We'd done a decent job of stopping them at the end there. I said I thought we'd get the ball back and that's why I made the decision. Now, with that being said, sure it's easy to say, yeah, absolutely we should have gone for it. Maybe we convert and maybe we go down and win. At that point, I don't think it was the appropriate call."

Ryan said he was aware that a tie game would have meant the Bills were eliminated.

"To me, a tie was never, ever a consideration for us. We were going to go for the win and that's exactly how we were going to play it."

By punting, the Bills were banking on Colton Schmidt pinning Miami deep, the defense getting a three-and-out and the offense having enough time left to get into position for the winning points – keeping in mind that kicker Dan Carpenter had already missed two field goals in the game.

"We’d been doing a decent job on third down getting off the field and like I say, it’s easy to go back and trust me, I’ve gone back and went for it on fourth down 100 times," Ryan said. "But I know in my heart at the time that I did it, I thought I was making the right decision."

The game got to overtime on Andrew Franks' 55-yard field goal with six seconds remaining. On the play, Bills safety Corey White can clearly be seen attempting to call timeout, but officials did not award it.

 

Ryan said after the game that he was "sure" there was audio of him attempting to call timeout before Franks made the kick.

"I know what happened," the coach said Monday. So I'm comfortable. I know exactly what happened. And I know the whole process of it, not just the last second of it.

"The only thing I do see on tape is I do see two of our players trying to call a timeout, but that's what I see. ... I haven't seen the TV copy and I don't care. I don't need to see the TV copy for the simple fact – I know what happened. And when I tell you that I called timeout, that I wanted a timeout, that's what I did. I wanted the timeout. And the only reason I wanted the timeout was because I wanted to get a field-goal block team on. Ok? We never ran them on. When they ran their guys on, we never ran them on. I saw that the was, looked like some confusion there, that was when I wanted the timeout.

Left unsaid is how the field-goal block team was not ready to take the field when they saw Franks go out. The Dolphins had gained 7 yards on a third-and-10 play that began with 46 seconds left. Damien Williams failed to get out of bounds, which left the clock running and Miami with only two options – try to convert a first down and get out of bounds, or bring Franks out. Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore headed for the sidelines with 29 seconds left, with Franks coming on. The ball was snapped for the field goal with 10 seconds remaining, meaning the Bills had nearly 20 seconds to substitute the field-goal block team.

"A lot of times you don’t want to take a timeout there because they are going to have to speed everything up when they put the 'May Day' out there," Ryan said, "but the reason I wanted the timeout at that point is because we didn’t have our field-goal block team out there. Obviously you see us playing safe, it's not like they were going to fake a kick there, you know what I mean? It's time to go for it, and that's why I was trying to get the timeout."

In the end, Ryan was unsuccessful because of those communication errors – a perfect microcosm of a problem that has plagued the team for two years under his leadership.

"Well, I hope it isn’t," he said when asked Saturday's loss could be his defining moment. "If it is, it's something I got to live with."

The answer to that question will come within a week, after the Bills wrap up a meaningless season finale against the New York Jets.

"The only person that it needs to affect, the only people, are Terry and Kim Pegula. That’s who’s going to make the decision on whether I’m here, whether this person’s here," Ryan said. "That’s who makes that decision. So, whatever they think is fair, that’s the only thing that matters. As a coach, that’s why I said I’m going to try to win this game.

"Trust me, I’m going to try and win this game. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t mean anything. To me, it means a lot. I want to win the game and that’s just who I am. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be fair, or isn’t fair, or is fair. It doesn’t matter. It’s 'I’m going to do the best job I can,' just like always."

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