There was a lot you can pick from Buffalo’s 24-10 loss at the hands of the New York Giants that can be viewed as a primary factor. However, what everyone will undoubtedly focus on during the week was the team’s clear lack of discipline when it came to penalties.
The Bills committed 17 penalties — just shy of the franchise record of 19 — for 135 yards. Of those infractions, two of them brought back touchdowns that could have definitely led to a different outcome on the scoreboard.
Still, even after the problems the team had staying out of trouble on the field, head coach Rex Ryan stood up for his players during an animated post-game press conference.
“Well, I’m going to tell you something: I’m proud of the way this team played,” Ryan said when posed with a question about the penalties. “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.”
With the 17 penalties, the Bills padded their lead on the most penalties in the league with 57 through just four games. The discipline factor was a big talking point by Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, who told his players that Buffalo would be it’s own worst opponent because of the number of flags that get throw their way.
Despite his team becoming known for taking an absurd amount of penalties, Ryan doesn’t believe his team is as undisciplined as it appears.
“I know the one thing I know for a fact is that we have heart,” Ryan said. “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.”
Whether or not Ryan wants to admit it, taking as many penalties as his team has is nothing to defend. He claims that the penalties that took away touchdowns wouldn’t have had an impact on the final score, but when you lose you two scores, it’s tough to believe that. But saying that penalties need to be eliminated is one thing; actually doing it is another animal.
Making players accountable for, what can be considered selfish, unsportsmanlike penalties is the first thing that should be done. Coaches shouldn’t sit back and let their players get away with those types of errors. Pulling them out of contests when their tempers get the best of them is something that should be done immediately. That being said, I’m not the coach. I’m just a journalist that is going to write what I believe.