By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s only the middle of September, but the season outlook for Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills is already looking grim.
After dropping to 0-2 on the season Thursday night — and 8-10 under Ryan overall — the Bills find themselves alone in the cellar of the AFC East. This was a team, mind you, that just last month listened as Rex went on a profanity-laced tirade about how the Bills were going to win the Super Bowl.
“It ain’t about being No. 1 in defense, No. 1 in offense, whatever. No, it’s about us in this room, holding this damn trophy saying we won the whole mother [expletive],” he told his team in camp, per ESPN. “That’s where I’m at. Don’t be afraid of it. I don’t give a [bleep] who knows it. Here we are. Here the [bleep] we are. That’s who the [heck] I am. I’m going to tell you we’re the [stinking] best because I believe it. Let me [flipping] say it. And if it doesn’t work, I’ll be the first mother [bleeper] that goes. And everyone one of you, I [freaking] know you’ve got my back. All I want is every [fungible] thing you got. I’ll take every [freaky] bullet known to man.”
Well, just two weeks into the season, those bullets are flying.
Here’s a sampling of the headlines from the Buffalo News on the morning after the 37-31 home loss to the Jets:
“Bills follow historically anemic offensive display with historically meek defensive effort”
“At 0-2, Bills already find themselves in daunting spot”
“Bills now have issues on both sides of the ball“
And here’s a look at what the headlines are saying outside of Buffalo:
NJ.com: “Rex Ryan’s coaching career is on life support after latest loss to Jets”
CBSSports: “Rex Ryan’s lapses, Jets offense doom Bills in 37-31 loss”
SBNation: “Rex Ryan isn’t doing much to help the Bills”
The Washington Post: “It’s so bad for the Bills right now that Rex Ryan can’t even beat the Jets”
ProFootballTalk: “Rex Ryan concedes his defense stunk”
The Sporting News: “Rex Ryan chapter of Bills history could be really short thanks to 0-2 start”
The big picture is not looking pretty for the Bills or for Rex, who have to host the Cardinals next week before traveling to Foxboro to take on the Patriots. The Bills’ only win against the Patriots in the past four years came in Week 17 of the 2014 season, when the Patriots played their backups in preparation for the playoffs.
Suffice it to say, a 1-3 or 0-4 record in the first month of the season doesn’t exactly spell “Super Bowl.”
Things are bad.
Let’s hear it straight from Rex’s mouth.
“All right, well first off obviously never expected this. The Jets were a much better team than we were today, especially their offense against our defense, it looked like a mismatch today. You look for a difference in the game, that was the difference in the game,” Rex began his postgame press conference. “We have to get a lot better. I mean I thought we played well defensively the first game. We played, I mean, horribly today.”
On the prospect of facing two good teams in the Cardinals and Patriots, Ryan said, “Well right now, it looks daunting against anybody.”
The coach was also asked about some of the big plays his offense made, to which he replied, “To be honest with you, I think our defense played so poorly that I couldn’t tell you about that.”
I don’t know about you, but that gives me some Buffalo Bills Super Bowl fever!
OK, it’s mean to kick a team when it’s down, but mind you, this is the same Rex Ryan who gleefully boasted back in June that the Buffalo Bills had “won the offseason.” Back then, Rex was overlooking the inconvenient fact that his brother had been at the helm of a historically putrid defense down in New Orleans. Lo and behold, it took all of five days of the new NFL season for Rex to see the fruits of Rob’s labor come to life in Buffalo.
But really, it’s not all on Rob. It’s more on Rex. When Rex took over for Doug Marrone last year, he inherited the No. 4 defense in all of football. In just one season, the defense dropped to 19th in yards allowed and 15th in points allowed. This year, though very early, they’re 25th in yards allowed and 19th in points allowed.
Somehow, the coaching genius about which Rex boasted in downright Trumpian fashion back in 2010 has all but disappeared.
“I can see the whole field. I don’t know why. Most coaches can see two or three guys,” he said in a 2010 feature in The New York Times Magazine. “When they tested me, my creative thing was the highest ever tested, and so was my problem solving.”
Six years later, the “creative thing” has failed Rex, who is now 54-60 as a head coach and is starting to feel the warmth radiating through his britches.