ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Still smarting from the Buffalo Bills’ meltdown against New England, coach Rex Ryan had at least had one thing go right for him Monday.
The person in line ahead of him at the drive-thru window bought Ryan a coffee.
“I was like, ‘Wow, I feel good,'” said Ryan, who is hard to miss behind the wheel of his tricked-out, Bills-color pickup trick. “But that’s kind of the way the town is.”
The honeymoon period isn’t over yet for Ryan, two games into his first season in Buffalo. And yet he fully understands it won’t last much longer if the Bills (1-1) fail to regroup after unraveling during a 40-32 dud against the Patriots on Sunday.
“It’s a horrendous loss, there’s no question about it,” Ryan said. “So obviously, there’s a million of negative things we’ve got to get corrected.”
The question is where to begin as the Bills hit the road for the first time, at AFC East rival, Miami (1-1).
Against New England, Buffalo’s supposedly sturdy defense proved porous in allowing 507 yards, including a franchise-worst 466 yards passing by Tom Brady. Their offense spent much of the first three quarters going nowhere before mounting a 19-point fourth-quarter rally that fell short.
And a lack of discipline was a constant in all three phases, with Buffalo flagged 14 times for 140 yards — including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Ryan for arguing an offensive pass interference call against Bills receiver Sammy Watkins.
Ryan vowed to build a bully when he took over in January. But even this was a little too much, he said.
“We’ve got to have that controlled emotion,” he said of a team that was penalized 11 times for 113 yards in a 27-14 season-opening win over Indianapolis. “Right now, it’s hard to play against a good football team, and you’ve also got to overcome penalties.”
What hurt the most was watching his veteran-laden defense come unhinged against a pass-happy Brady, who completed 38 of 59 attempts and broke the record of most yards passing against the Bills set by George Blanda in 1961.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Patriots’ first possession, the Bills failed to force another punt. And they allowed New England to score on seven on its next nine possessions, not including a kneel-down to end the first half, to build a 37-13 lead through three quarters.
“They outcoached us, they outdid everything,” Ryan said. “I have never given up that many yards in my life — maybe two games combined or something. Does it sting? Will I remember it? Of course.”
This was not what was expected from a defense that features two $100 million linemen in Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams, and returns mostly intact after allowing the fourth-fewest yards in the NFL last season.
On offense, Tyrod Taylor threw three interceptions and combined for 166 yards offense through three quarters.
Ryan said one of the only bright spots was how the Bills mounted a rally by scoring touchdowns on three consecutive drives to cut the deficit to 37-32.
The comeback bid ended when Taylor’s pass tipped off Watkins hands and was intercepted by Logan Ryan.
Veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams was upset over how the Bills lacked poise.
“I’m embarrassed,” Williams said, following the game. “It looks bad on our team, our fans, and it reflected the way that we played. It’s inexcusable.”
Ryan didn’t argue.
“It was embarrassing,” Ryan said. “But it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be embarrassing for the rest of the season, I can tell you this.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL