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Rex Ryan Explains Challenge-Gate

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

During the victory over the Buffalo Bills, Rex Ryan took a lot of flak for using his two challenges almost consecutively and failing on both of them, leaving the New York Jets with just one time out in the second half. He explained himself today:

I think what happened on the first challenge (is) I thought we did have the first down. Obviously, I’m not going to challenge it if I didn’t think it. I really felt we had a chance to get that first down, to look at it. And then the other deal was the clock was down under 10 seconds and I was going to use a timeout anyway. I was going to have to use a timeout anyway, so it’s like, ‘Okay, I have two challenges left,’ and I thought we made (it). In my line (of sight), I thought we made the first down. And then when I saw that the clock was down, I think it was eight seconds, I was like, ‘I’m going to just challenge it.’ And that’s what I did with the first one.

Now the second one, the way our defense was playing, you’re never going to challenge a call you think you’re going to lose, obviously. File that in the no kidding category. (joking) We gave up a big play, a huge play, that changed field position, that totally flipped the field. So that’s why I challenged that one, because I obviously thought he never made the catch in-bounds, which clearly he did, upon further review. I did a poor job. It never worked out this time. The thing is, we’ve led the league in these, in percentages (of successful challenges), before. I think two years ago, as well. But this time it never panned out.

Well, there you have it. It's interesting the strategy side of the first challenge that the timeout essentially served as a time-out that was going to be taken anyway to discuss the fourth-down play, while giving them a replay in case the refs decided to overturn the calls.