Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports

Would you rather coach a team that plays hard but not smart or smart but not hard? Rex Ryan has the former and he has no qualms at how his team played in its hard-to-watch loss to the New York Giants.

The Bills were flagged for 17 accepted penalties in the game which nearly set a franchise record. Only twice before in the team’s 55 year franchise history have the Bills been flagged for more penalties in a game (they had 19 each in games in 1985 and 2001). They now have 47 penalties on the season which leads the league and is 9 more than the team with the second most. Ryan surely doesn’t mind the aggressiveness of his players, but even he admitted that they do need to play hard and smart:

“I’m proud of the way this team played. Can we play a lot smarter? Absolutely. But I’ll take a team that’ll fight over a team that will sit back and take it every day of the week and bring on the next team. Give me a team that’s got some fight and will compete to the very end right, wrong or indifferent no matter how good the officiating is or whatever.”

That last little jab at the officiating may make Ryan’s wallet a little lighter next week as he seemed to put some of the onus on the officials for all of the flags. Ryan was clearly agitated in his post-game press conference and even lashed out a bit at the reporters:

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams was a player who also took issue with the officiating:

“(The refs) are looking for things, whether they’re legitimate or not, they’re looking for things. You have to just be able to walk away. I think the bad thing is that the reputation is out. There’s different things, whether it be from the other team knowing — so they can goad you into a couple things, and you have to be able to move away from that — and the officials are looking for certain things. So we have to be choirboys.”

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Bills have had 57 total penalties this year (accepted and not accepted). That is the most by any team in their first four games in over a decade. No matter how good or bad the officiating is, or whether or not they are looking for things; the Bills will have to find a way to play smarter if they want any shot at the postseason.

Ross Kelly is an Associated Producer for CBS Local Sports. He is from Louisiana and is a fan of all sports, but not of any teams (except LSU). He can be reached at ross.kelly@cbs.com.

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