AFC East: 2013 Week 8 NFL Buzz
An imperfect 10: As expected, Rex Ryan was in a foul mood, but he's often at his candid best when speaking out of anger. This was no exception. If the defense doesn't play better next week against New Orleans, Drew Brees "will break every record known to man against us," he said disgustedly. Someone asked if this was the worst loss of his coaching career. "No, shoot, no," he said. "The loss to New England [in 2010], 45-3, felt worse. On a scale of 10, this one's a 10, but that one to New England was like an 11. It's brutal." They were both brutal.
Bad preparation: Willie Colon's upper body could've served as a metaphor for the psyche of the team. His ribs were aching, and there was a huge bandage wrapped around his torso. Colon is known as a tell-it-like-it-is player, so it raised eyebrows when he wouldn't talk about whether the team may have been distracted during the week in the aftermath of the big win over New England. You may recall that, on Thursday, Ryan expressed his displeasure with practice. Asked about that after the game, Colon offered this cryptic response: "I'm going to keep that in-house. I'm not going to talk about that." Interesting.
Marrone to review challenge procedure: Bills head coach Doug Marrone challenged two ball spots in the second half and lost both. He falls to 0-for-3 on the season for his challenges. Prior to Sunday, the Bills were just one of six teams not to have won a challenge. Marrone said after the game that he needs to change how he decides to challenge a play. "I have to do a better job of changing the process of our challenges," he said. "We haven't been successful in that. If we keep it the same, how do I expect that to change? We'll look into that. ... It's my fault. Period. I am the head coach."
Robey downplays officiating: In addition to Marrone's two challenges, there were a fair share of close calls made against each team Sunday. The home crowd, for example, let the officials hear it after two roughing-the-passer calls against the Saints late in the third quarter, helping lead to a Bills touchdown. But Bills rookie cornerback Nickell Robey said he didn't have any qualms with other penalties that fell against Buffalo. "The refs let us play today," Robey said. "I wouldn't put anything on the refs. They let us play aggressive, they let us play hard. No knock on them today. We just have to come out and finish."
Belichick all smiles: Patriots coach Bill Belichick was obviously pleased with the result, saying he was proud of the team's mental toughness and that the result reflected its character. He pointed out that the third quarter has been a tough one for the Patriots, as they had been outscored 44-9 in the quarter entering the game, but that changed Sunday, even as the crowd booed the team at halftime, something Belichick acknowledged that he heard. Belichick also smiled when referencing one of the key plays in the game, an 8-yard run by Brady on fourth-and-4 on the team's final touchdown drive. Brady doesn't run often. Belichick seemed to like that one.
No overlooking Gostkowski and impact of wind: Stephen Gostkowski's 48-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter, which came after the Patriots took a smart timeout with the wind in mind, was cited by Belichick as a "big one for us at that point because we also got the kickoff, which he touched back." The wind was a factor in game management/field position, and the Patriots aced the test.
Downtrodden Dolphins: It was a somber locker room for the fourth straight game. The Dolphins haven’t won since Sept. 22, and now you have to wonder if confidence will become an issue. Miami backup defensive back Jimmy Wilson says that’s not the case. “I don’t feel like the season is slipping away because we got a great team here,” Wilson said. “We just got to rattle off [wins]. We lost four in a row. Now, we have to win four in a row.”
Left unspoken: Miami’s players had plenty of opportunities to call out the officials following Sunday’s loss to New England. There were two or three controversial calls in the game that went against Miami. The biggest call was against Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon for illegally batting the ball. “I really can’t say anything about that,” Dolphins linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said. “It’s just something we have to bounce back from.”