ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A defiant Rex Ryan defended the Buffalo Bills after their 24-10 loss Sunday to the New York Giants, pounding the podium several times as he commended his players for their "fight" despite the flurry of penalties against Buffalo in the game.
"Well, I'm going to tell you something: I'm proud of the way this team played," an animated Ryan said after the game. "Can you play a lot smarter? Absolutely. But I'll take a team that can fight over a team that won't -- that will sit back and take it -- any day of the week. And bring on the next team.
"So that's how I look at it. Give me a team that's got some fight, and we'll compete to the very end, right, wrong or indifferent. No matter how good the officiating is, or whatever."
Ryan resisted the idea that his team's 17 penalties in the game -- raising its season total to 58 flags, the most in the NFL -- were a result of undisciplined play.
"You guys write the story so you'll write it the way you want to write it," Ryan told reporters. "I know the one thing I know for a fact is that we have heart. The discipline things? I get it. When you have 17 penalties, that's obviously a sign of lack of discipline. That's not the real deal, but this is a free country. Write what you believe."
Giants coach Tom Coughlin told his players before Sunday's game that the Bills would beat themselves with penalties, ESPN's Dan Graziano reported. The Bills entered the game with 293 yards off penalties, the most in the NFL, and were flagged 14 times in a Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots.
"I get it, no question about it," Ryan said after Sunday's game. "We can focus on the negatives and all that -- and I get it, that's your guys' job -- but you might not understand the game the way I understand [it] because I've been on the other side. I've been a part of a 20-some-penalty performance by the Ravens, OK? And we went on and we fixed it. We'll fix it here."
The Bills had two touchdowns called back in Sunday's game due to penalties, but despite the Bills' 14-point loss, Ryan didn't believe those two calls had an effect on the game's outcome.
"We never lost because we had two touchdowns called back," Ryan said. "That wasn't the reason we lost, but it took a little wind out of our sails."
Several players in the Bills' locker room questioned some of the officials' calls, including defensive tackle Kyle Williams.
"You have to just be able to walk away. I think the bad thing is that the reputation is out. There's different things, whether it be from the other team knowing -- so they can goad you into a couple things, and you have to be able to move away from that -- and the officials are looking for certain things. So we have to be choirboys."
Bills DT Kyle Williams
Asked if the Bills had gained a reputation for being penalized, Williams responded, "Oh, I think we're there. Especially in the fourth quarter, when we go back out. [Linebacker] Preston [Brown] is ripping out a ball and he gets 15 yards thrown on him for throwing an elbow when he's trying to rip the ball out. So I think once you get to that point, they're looking for things, whether they're legitimate or not, they're looking for things like that."
"You have to just be able to walk away," Williams said. "I think the bad thing is that the reputation is out. There's different things, whether it be from the other team knowing -- so they can goad you into a couple things, and you have to be able to move away from that -- and the officials are looking for certain things. So we have to be choirboys."