Tuesday Bills Musings: Goodbye Rex

There was a time when the Buffalo Bills couldn't defeat Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. Lately, the Bills have had Rex's number and yesterday may have been the last time Buffalo went against Ryan as Jets head coach.

Putting Two Nails in Rex Ryan's Coffin

The Buffalo Bills were 3-7 against Rex Ryan and the New York Jets entering this season. At one point, the Jets ran off six straight wins over the Bills. There was a time when Bills fans figured their chances of getting a win against the Jets were slim. That changed on November 17, 2013 when the Bills and Jets met in their second matchup of the season. Buffalo throttled the Jets 37-14 and things haven't been the same since.

This season, the Bills went 2-0 against the Jets and outscored them 81-26. Bills quarterback Kyle Orton completed over 69 percent of his passes in the two matchups and had a six to zero TD-to-INT ratio. The defense caused seven turnovers in the two matchups and 11 sacks. Buffalo won the field position battle in both games and outplayed the Jets on special teams.

Buffalo dominated all three phases of the game and picked up where they left off in November of 2013. Losing two games in blowouts to a division rival is never good. Doing it when your coaching for your job is even worse.

Rex Ryan used to give the Bills fits. Now, the Bills have done their part to put two nails in Ryan's proverbial coffin. 

Defense Rolling Under Schwartz

When Mike Pettine left Buffalo to coach the Cleveland Browns, no one knew what to expect from their next coordinator. Jim Schwartz's hire was well-received in Buffalo, but his defense was much different from what fans saw in 2013. Pettine relied upon exotic blitzes and ran much of his defense through a 3-4 defense. The Bills sent pressure early and often with Pettine and finished the season with 57 sacks and 23 interceptions, both good for second in the NFL. Buffalo's defense was gashed on the ground under Pettine, but the controlled chaos kept things interesting.

Jim Schwartz's defenses run out of a 4-3 base. He's not against blitzing, but he relies heavily upon his front four to pressure the quarterback. Through 11 games, the Bills currently have 46 sacks and 13 interceptions. The 46 sacks is good for first in the NFL and the interception total is tied for 5th. Under Schwartz, Buffalo's run defense has improved under Schwartz and the defense is firing on all cyclinders. 

This Sunday, we come full circle. Pettine's Cleveland Browns will take on Schwartz's Bills defense. While Pettine put an entertaining defense on the field, the Bills have been better with Schwartz. Last season, Buffalo gave up 27 points or more seven times. Currently, the Bills have only given up this amount once in 2014. It'll be interesting to see how the Bills handle Pettine's pressure on Sunday and how the Browns offense fares against Schwartz's defense.

Random Musings

-Last night, Robert Woods showed why the Bills were thrilled to have him fall into their laps in the 2013 NFL draft. Woods went over 100 yards for the first time in his career and made three or four fantastic catches. If defenses focus in on Sammy Watkins, like the Jets did last night, Woods will certainly step up in his place.

-The Bills look like they'll have three defensive linemen finish with 10 sacks or more this season. Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus have already accomplished this feat, and Jerry Hughes is one-half sack away from getting into double digits.

-Danny Crossman didn't make a good impression in 2013 as the team's special teams coach. Many expected him to get fired, but Doug Marrone claimed that Crossman was working with a subpar unit. It appears that this was the case. This season, the special teams unit has been outstanding. Dan Carpenter, Colton Schmidt and Jordan Gay have all done well in their kicking roles and the actual unit has done a great job covering and blocking for the team.

-Anthony Dixon had his second blocked punt of the season last night. He was the only Bills player going for the block and he successfully drove his blocker back far enough to get a hand on the ball. He later added a touchdown rush. The man who known as Boobie was the team's MVP last night.


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