FOXBORO -- Rex Ryan said on Wednesday that he thought he knew who would be playing quarterback for the Patriots. He simply didn't want to say anything aloud.
"If I'm wrong," he said at the time, "it'll be like, 'Oh, he wasn't right. What a shock.' "
After beating the Patriots at Gillette Stadium Sunday afternoon, 16-0, Ryan took to the podium and not only insisted that his instincts were correct, but he explained that he has some solid intelligence being fed to him from behind enemy lines.
"My sources inside the New England Patriot building said that Jacoby Brissett would be the quarterback," Ryan said. "How's that? I'll stir some stuff. Who was it? I don't know who it was."
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That sounds like it could have been a fictional tale from a chatty coach who was feeling good after a win. But it was backed by one of Ryan's players. When linebacker Preston Brown was asked if it mattered that the Bills had no idea who was going to be quarterbacking, Brown echoed his coach's sentiments.
"Not really," he said. "We had some inside knowledge that [Brissett] was probably going to play today. Knowing that he was going to play, we knew we were going to get a lot of passes to our left side, easy one-sided reads, so we tried to limit that and pack that side."
The Bills held Brissett to 17-of-27 passing for 205 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. They forced Brissett to fumble once, they limited the Patriots to 1-for-12 on third-down conversions, and they kept Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan under wraps. That foursome combined for just two catches.
Whether the Bills actually knew Brissett would be playing days ago or not -- the Patriots said that they didn't even know Garoppolo would be sidelined until game day -- is irrelevant. They played like it.
"God, it feels good to finally win here," Ryan said. "Been close about six times. Finally won one. It was great."