The Bills players have made it clear that they love Rex Ryan and want him to remain as coach. That's all it is where the defense is concerned. Talk. The play of Ryan's 'D' on Saturday suggested that they don't care one way or another who coaches the team and that they're ready to pack it in for the year.
The defense, which is supposed to be Ryan's calling card, missed tackles, gave up big chunks in the running game and turned in a dreadful performance in a 34-31 overtime loss to the Dolphins at New Era Field.
That does it, folks. Turn out the lights when you leave the building. The Bills' faint playoff hopes evaporated with his crushing loss, which dropped them to 7-8 and ensured that Ryan will not make the playoffs or coach an above-.500 team for the sixth consecutive season.
Ryan's position seems even more tenuous after this setback. His defense had yet another miserable day, giving up 494 total yards and four plays of 40 yards or more – including a 57-yard dash by Jay Ajayi to set up the winning score in overtime.
If management was looking to fire Ryan and elevate offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, as has been rumored lately, they could not have asked for a more suitable outcome in the home finale.
In their last seven losses, the Bills have allowed 236 points, an average of 34 a game. That's the sort of record that gets a presumed defensive genius fired. This one came against a Miami team playing backup quarterback Matt Moore, another black mark against Ryan's defense.
Maybe the Bills' players really love Lynn, who is rumored to be in line for the head job if Ryan gets whacked. The Bills had a franchise-record 589 yards of offense, including a career-high 329 yards passing by Tyrod Taylor and 128 yards rushing by LeSean McCoy.
The Bills entered the game 27th in the league in rushing defense and gave up 261 yards to Miami. Ajayi, who had just 99 total yards in his previous two games, rushed for 206 on 32 carries. It was his second 200-yard game against the Bills this season and the third against Buffalo this year.
The offense kept plugging away, getting seven catches for 154 yards from Sammy Watkins. But Carpenter missed a 45-yard field goal early in overtime and Ryan made the dubious decision to punt on fourth-and-2 from his own 41 -yard line later in OT.
Ajayi popped his 57-yarder moments later. Franks, who has made a career-high 55-yard field goal to force overtime, kicked a 27-yard field goal to win it. It was a distressing way to end what will be the final home game for a lot of Bills – and quite likely, their head coach.