Late during Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills rookie running back Jonathan Williams appeared to score his first career touchdown. But was ruled down short of the goal line. The play resulted in Rex Ryan throwing his challenge flag inside of the two-minute warning, which is not allowed.
On Monday, the coach admitted that it was stupid of him to do that.
“That was stupid on my part,” Ryan said, per Nick Veronica of The Buffalo News. “I was upset because I told the (refs) I can’t challenge it. I said, I can’t throw the red flag; it’s inside of two minutes, I can’t challenge. I said, but it’s clearly a touchdown, can you please review it? You guys know it is, please review it. I know the game doesn’t matter, the game’s over, I get it. But it’d be nice if this kid gets a touchdown. I said, it’s clearly a touchdown. So they didn’t do it and I did something stupid.”
Certainly Ryan has done plenty of stupid things on NFL sidelines. Strangely enough, though, this was not one of them.
Ryan and the Bills were penalized with the loss of a timeout. In that situation, does that really matter? Buffalo was down 41-17 in the final minute of the game. A timeout wasn’t likely to come in handy, anyway.
What Ryan did with that action is show his players that he’s fighting for them. Even in a blowout loss, those players know that he has their backs. That makes it far more likely that the players will fight for him in the future.
The story also had a happy ending. On the following play, Williams scored the touchdown that he had just been deprived of.