ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Rex Ryan said the Bills committed "too many penalties to win the game" and called the total "100 percent ridiculous," but he showed no indication that he will try to stop his team from playing the chippy and aggressive way it performed against the Giants on Sunday.
"I'll take a team that will fight over a team that won't. That I'll sit back and take," Ryan said after a 24-10 win by the Giants in which his team was flagged 17 times for 135 yards and had two touchdowns negated by penalties. "I'm proud of this team and we'll keep fighting and eventually we'll find a way to win."
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Metropolitan area fans are familiar with that kind of brash talk and undisciplined play. It was a hallmark of Ryan's tenure with the Jets for years. And although Ryan may have a high tolerance for penalties, the players themselves seem to be growing weary of it.
Safety Corey Graham was asked about the line between being aggressive and playing recklessly. "Oh, we're over it," Graham said of that demarcation. "I mean, it's embarrassing."
The Bills were penalized 14 times for 140 yards in their loss to the Patriots two weeks ago.
"We've done that twice where we've really put ourselves in some bad positions with penalties this year," center Eric Wood said. "It's got to stop now."
The Giants knew to expect that kind of Rexcitability from the Bills. But even they were taken aback by some of the things that went on, including linebacker Preston Brown drawing an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty in the fourth quarter for basically going berserk on the field.
"I've never seen anything like that," Giants center Weston Richburg said. "He was pushing refs, and I've never seen anything like that. That was pretty crazy."
"I'm proud of our guys," Giants right tackle Marshall Newhouse said. "We kept our composure really well. When stuff like that goes down, you don't want to be the guy who gets caught hitting second. There's a way to be tough and still keep your composure and not get the personal fouls and stuff like that."
The Giants didn't exactly play a clean game themselves, getting hit with 11 penalties for 85 yards. But most of theirs were traditional holdings and delays of game.
Buffalo had penalties like those, too, such as the holding by guard Kraig Urbik that wiped out what would have been a 31-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tyrod Taylor (a missed field goal meant that drive resulted in no points) and a late pass from Taylor to Charles Clay for a touchdown that was expunged on a chop block by Richie Incognito. You remember him, too, right?
Beyond those football-related flags, though, the Bills at times exuded the aura of a team with no regard for authority or the consequences of their actions. Ryan steadfastly defended that mentality.
"The one thing I know for a fact is we've got heart," he said. "The discipline thing, you know, I get it. You get 17 penalties, that's obviously a sign of lack of discipline. I think that's not the real deal, but you know, hey, it's a free country. Write what you believe."