FOXBOROUGH — He didn’t put his foot in his mouth today.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan had nothing but praise for Bill Belichick and the Patriots after his team’s huge 28-21 win over New England in today’s AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium.
“I was dead wrong. I thought it would come down to me and Belichick and thank goodness it never did, because he won that battle like he always does,” Ryan said to open his postgame press conference. “It came down to our players and it came down to the assistant coaches, and we won that battle. Proud of the way the team played. Outstanding effort. Maybe not as good on special teams as I would have liked but other than that it was an outstanding effort by our guys.
“We came here for a reason. We said that we believe when maybe everybody else never believed us or whatever, but we believed. We worked too hard to get back here. We came here for a reason. We thought we were the better team and clearly that Monday night game [Patriots 45-3 win over the Jets] we weren’t. They were clearly head and shoulders better than we were, but I knew if we applied ourselves and we play the way we’re capable of playing, we can beat ’em, and that’s exactly what happened. And we’re moving on. Same old Jets going to the AFC Championship game two years in a row, the only difference is we plan on winning this one.”
Ryan was asked if he felt vindicated after all the trash talk leading up to the game.
“That’s a great football team we got through playing, we talk because we believe in ourselves,” Ryan said. “I think that was where the talk came from. There’s a huge amount of respect that our team has for New England. I mean that’s a great football team and they’ve got a great franchise, but we’re not afraid of anybody. And maybe people take it the wrong way, or look at us or whatever, but we don’t try to badmouth an opponent. We respect every opponent. We especially respect these guys, but we’re not in fear of anybody. We came here on a mission and we’re trying to win a Super Bowl, and we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Ryan couldn’t resist taking another little jab at Patriots quarterback Tom Brady when he revisited the little quip he made about Brady’s study habits.
“This [Patriots] team, they had a zillion points and all that this season, I mean that’s Tom Brady back there at quarterback,” Ryan said. “He might not study like Peyton Manning but he’s pretty good. We finally got an interception against the guy. I think he had only thrown like 400 passes without one, so we felt pretty fortunate.”