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Monday, October 24, 2011
Rex Ryan jokes about San Diego

By Jane McManus
ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan had a simple response to grumblings coming from the San Diego Chargers in the wake of Sunday's 27-21 New York Jets victory. His players were a little more harsh.

"Stay classy, San Diego," said Ryan, referencing the character Ron Burgundy from the movie "Anchorman."

After his team didn't score in the second half and blew an 11-point lead, Chargers tight end Randy McMichael had said the Jets didn't deserve any credit, without being at all subtle.

"The San Diego Chargers beat ourselves, OK?" McMichael said. "It's all about us. We took our foot off the gas pedal, and we lost because of it. ... Their secondary isn't anything. It's our fault. It had nothing to do with anybody on their team. It's all about the guys in this locker room. We lost the game. They didn't do anything."

Ryan didn't address the substance of McMichael's complaints but he did praise his defensive backs, including Darrelle Revis, whose interception set up the go-ahead score for the Jets. Kyle Wilson's pick a few minutes later sealed the win.

Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie was as subtle as McMichael, blasting the Chargers.

"Honestly, when you're up by 11 points in the fourth quarter and you can't even finish the game up?" the former Charger said. "That shows what kind of team you are -- a team that can't finish and that's been San Diego the whole time. There it is."

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was more diplomatic than his teammate. He felt his team let the win get away but also added: "The Jets had something to do with causing it to get away from us, certainly."

Jets safety Jim Leonhard cut McMichael some slack, saying it was natural for players to think that they were responsible for a win or loss based on their own actions. Revis, the anchor of the Jets secondary, did take his own shot at McMichael, though.

"We were focused on Antonio Gates," Revis said. "(McMichael) didn't do nothing exciting in the game. I could see if he had five touchdowns or four touchdowns. He didn't do nothing special. I mean, he knocked me out (of bounds) on the interception. He's McMichaels. That's what his last name says on his jersey."

Told that it's McMichael, Revis said: "McMichael, McMichaels. I don't pay attention. The only people I know are Philip Rivers, (Ryan) Mathews, Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd. Those are the people we were focused on for this game. ... Whatever he said was bogus."

The Jets and San Diego could eventually settle it in a rematch, if both teams can make it to the AFC Championship. That is a long way off however, and Cromartie wasn't optimistic that the Chargers will make it.

"Let's see if they can win their (division), let's see if they can beat the Raiders first," Cromartie said.

There was some bad blood going into the game. Earlier in the week, Ryan inadvertently took a shot at San Diego coach Norv Turner by saying if he had been hired to coach San Diego instead of Turner, he'd have a "couple of rings" by now.

Ryan immediately called Turner to apologize and took it a step further Monday, vowing not to use a word that got him into trouble with Turner.

"I will no longer say the word 'rings' anymore," said Ryan, who also said in 2009 that he didn't come to New York to kiss Patriots coach Bill Belichick's rings.

"All that kind of stuff," he continued, "so I'm not going to use that word anymore. I get crushed every time I say it."

Ryan allowed that he would continue to use "Lombardi Trophy" and "Super Bowl."

Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.