NEW YORK -- It's personal -- again. This time, it's Rex Ryan versus Bill Belichick, according to Ryan.
Calling out one of the most successful coaches in NFL history, the New York Jets' coach delivered an unsolicited rant Monday, admitting he was outcoached by his Patriots adversary in last month's blowout and vowing to flip the script in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game against the New England Patriots.
"This is about Bill Belichick versus Rex Ryan," Ryan said, addressing the upcoming showing in Foxborough for the first time. "There's no question, it's personal. It's about him against myself. That's what it's going to come down to."
Ryan claimed both teams are even, and that the rubber game will be decided by his ability to match wits with Belichick. In their last meeting, Dec. 6 in Foxborough, the Jets were humiliated on Monday Night Football 45-3.
"I was outcoached in that game," Ryan said. "I said it then, I'm saying it now. Belichick, I recognize the fact this is a Hall of Fame coach. He'll go down in history as maybe the greatest football coach in the history of this game, or going to be close to it.
"He was at that level that week and I was not. For whatever reason, I never had my team prepared the way it should've been prepared. That falls right down on me."
The Jets were ill-prepared, and Ryan made highly questionable tactical decisions early in the contest, which set a bad tone. The Jets also played without safety Jim Leonhard, the "quarterback" of the defense. He suffered a season-ending injury three days before the game, a major disruption to the team's defensive preparation.
Nevertheless, Ryan blamed himself, perhaps a clever motivational ploy to take the heat off his players this week as they prepare for Round 3.
"This is going to be about me raising my level against Bill Belichick," Ryan said. "I recognize he's the best. I'm just trying to be the best on Sunday, and I plan on being the best coach on Sunday. ... That's what it is. I recognize my level has to come up. He's going to get my best shot. He's going to get everything I have on Sunday. If he slips at all, we're gonna beat him."
Asked how he planned to beat Belichick, Ryan said it would take a "ridiculous amount of preparation." He said he's planning to simplify the game plan, saying it was too complicated for the 45-3 game.
The Jets won the first meeting in Week 2, 28-14. After the 45-3 debacle, Ryan told Belichick during the postgame handshake that he'd be back.
"I told Belichick after the game, 'We'll see you in Round 3,' " Ryan said. "He just looked at me."