When Tom Brady and the Patriots traveled to Orchard Park to take on Rex Ryan's Bills defense in Week 2, they met little resistance. Brady threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns, completing 38 of his 59 attempts, and as a team they racked up 507 yards of total offense.
For the coach who wanted to build a "bully" in Buffalo, his first matchup with Brady didn't quite go as expected. Now he's getting ready for the second go-round a week from Monday night.
"I know New England is looking forward to this game," Ryan said. "You know 500 some yards of offense, 466 yards passing -- not that I forgot. But we are better than that, we are better than that. Brady has been scorching everybody. That was hard to fathom, that has never happened to me before."
Ryan added: "I would much rather play Orchard Park High School, but we are playing New England."
Since that Week 2 matchup, Brady has helped lead the Patriots to seven more victories without a loss, and he's the favorite in Las Vegas to win the MVP. Ryan has been among those most in awe of what the 38-year-old has been able to do.
"The quarterback never gets worse," Ryan said last week after beating the Jets. "What's wrong with him? That quarterback never gets worse. Like what is wrong with him? You know what I mean? When you get older, you're supposed to get worse. This dude's getting better. Like, it's sick. It's not right. I'm waiting for the wheels to fall off."
Asked if Brady has shown any signs of aging, Ryan continued to be in awe of the Patriots quarterback and how he's maintained his level of performance.
"I haven’t seen that," Ryan said. "I have seen a gray hair in his head and that’s it. You are going to go gray, pal. One of these days. But no, the thing about him where you know, like he has got, I don’t know what is driving him. He's got all the rings, he's got all this stuff. But there is something internal that drives that guy.
"He is in phenomenal shape, this might be as good as shape as he been in, and maybe knowing when you get up there in age you have to be in great shape . . . He is that way. He is moving well. His accuracy is, like, crazy."
And there's not much defenses can try to do to confuse him, Ryan explained. The Giants had some success getting into the Patriots backfield on Sunday as they attacked a New England offensive line that has been ravaged by injuries. But Ryan made it seem as though he's not counting on the same thing.
"Well I mean the guy is throwing the ball in under two seconds," Ryan said. "It's hard to get pressure on a guy. You know to get sacks and stuff is not going to happen. If he wants it out of his hands he is going to get it out of his hands, and he did. We got to tighten up what we do coverage-wise. There is no question about it. Like I said we will see how much we improved from [Week 2]."
The Bills will be without injured defensive lineman Kyle Williams next week, but they still possess one of the most talented fronts on the Patriots schedule with ends Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes and tackle Marcell Dareus.
Ryan said the key to trying to get pressure on Brady is mixing up his looks. He'll rely on those three to beat their blockers, but he'll also dial up extra defenders to blitz. If he does too much of one or the other, he explained, Brady will have a field day.
"His numbers against three man rush, the blitz, the four man rush, this coverage, that coverage and all that are probably pretty good," Ryan said. "Yeah, no, I think it's part of the whole thing. It's like if you are doing a steady thing of blitz, he is going to kill you. You are doing a steady thing of coverage, he's going to kill you. You have to be, you have to play the game with him and hope he's not on. That is kind of what you are hoping for. I am not sitting back praying for a hurricane to pop through there, but a lot of wind would be nice."