Bills' Rex Ryan throws red flag on how he challenges
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Rex Ryan has thrown a red flag on how the Buffalo Bills determine when to challenge a play.
The Bills coach acknowledged on Monday there are flaws in the team's current review process.
Ryan shouldered the blame and indicated changes are being introduced a day after he failed to challenge any one of three questionable calls that went against Buffalo in a 30-22 loss at Kansas City.
"Did that process let us down yesterday? Absolutely did. It failed on a couple of occasions, obviously," Ryan said. "We need to find a way to get it better, where people at home can see something and we don't see it. To me, that can't happen, and it won't happen in the future."
Ryan didn't specify what went wrong or reveal what changes will be made as Buffalo (5-6) returns home to prepare to face Houston (6-5) on Sunday.
"It's frustrating, without question," he said. "It's my responsibility to get a process in place that's effective."
It didn't help that the two plays Ryan did challenge were allowed to stand.
The vow to make changes comes after Ryan provided mixed responses immediately following the game.
He initially placed the blame on the video scoreboard at Arrowhead Stadium for not showing replays.
Ryan also said a member of his staff is responsible for monitoring plays and determining when a call is worth challenging. However, Ryan added, that person also has other responsibilities.
Until Sunday, Ryan was successful on five of six challenges this season, according to STATS. That's an improvement from his previous six seasons coaching the New York Jets, where he was successful on 21 of 46 challenges.
"I think the process has held up until this," Ryan said on Monday. "What's important now, is we have to find a way to get better at it. I believe we have one in place now."
All three plays that went unchallenged were worthy of being reviewed and proved costly in a game the Bills lost ground in the AFC playoff race.
In the second quarter, replays showed the ball may have hit the turf as Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin was credited for making a sliding 37-yard reception. The Chiefs scored on the next play to cut Buffalo's lead to 10-7.
Ryan said he wasn't aware there were any issues about the catch until he was asked about it following the game.
On the Bills' final possession, Ryan said he should have gone with his instincts and challenged an incompletion call on receiver Chris Hogan.
On second-and-10 from the Buffalo 20, replays showed Hogan made a catch over the middle and took three steps to his right before he was tackled and lost the ball when he hit the turf near the 30.
Ryan elected against challenging the play because he didn't want to risk losing Buffalo's final timeout.
"In hindsight, I should have thrown it," Ryan said. "I saw it with my own eyes. I should have believed it."
The drive ended two plays later when the Bills failed to convert on fourth-and-10, and the Bills never got the ball back.
There was also a play at the end of the third quarter that might have been worthy of a review, when Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was credited for an 11-yard scramble to convert a third-and-11 from the Buffalo 34. Replays showed Smith's elbow hit the turf about a yard short.
The Chiefs eventually settled for a 38-yard field goal to take a 27-22 lead.
The Bills have lost two straight and are in jeopardy of extending the NFL's longest active playoff drought to 16 seasons.
"I'm not admitting defeat by any stretch of the imagination. We have some opportunity," Ryan said, assessing the Bills' chances.
"Right now, in my opinion, we can win the rest of them, but we're also a team that could lose them. We haven't shown the consistency to play at a certain level yet. Now, we've got to find it, and we've got to find it in a hurry."
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.