ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills have won four consecutive games, so Rex Ryan is boasting and bragging about how his team is on the fast track to the playoffs, right?
Not quite. Perception, accurate or not, is that Ryan puffs his chest and toots his horn when his team is on a roll, but he has done far from that since the Bills began their current winning streak -- their longest since 2008.
Consider Ryan's news conference after the Bills' 45-16 win Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers. His team had just rushed for 312 yards, the franchise's highest single-game total since 1992. The performance continued to validate Ryan's controversial Sept. 16 decision to replace offensive coordinator Greg Roman with Anthony Lynn, but Ryan didn't bite when asked what the Bills' fourth win means for him following an 0-2 start.
"Nothing, man," Ryan said, declining the opportunity to take a victory lap.
A reporter later asked if Sunday's home game against the 49ers, who came in at 1-4, was the sort of ho-hum game that playoff contenders typically win. It was a suggestion that the Bills, now 4-2, could be heading in the direction of their first postseason appearance since 1999 -- a suggestion Ryan himself made upon taking the Bills job last year.
"I don't know about all that other [playoff] jazz for us," Ryan said. "We lined up to play this week. We put absolutely everything into winning this one game, not thinking about anything else on the horizon. That's where our focus was, and we accomplished our goal."
It's too soon to say we're seeing a new, different Ryan. Two weeks ago he had little problem poking fun at the Patriots both before and after the Bills' win in New England. In two weeks, Ryan will have another chance to tweak his division rival when the Bills host the Patriots in a game at New Era Field that could decide first place in the AFC East.
But outside of the topics of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots, the world hasn't seen the boastfulness that became Ryan's brand in New York and made him a household name after two consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances to begin his career as Jets coach.
Even as the Bills were riding a three-game winning streak last week, Ryan had tunnel vision as he prepared to face the lowly 49ers.
"We're trying to win this game, period," he said last Wednesday. "I can tell you that 100 percent of our attention and our focus is to try to accomplish that. But playoffs, anything like that, we're not even close to that. And as I've mentioned before, we've still got a lot of dirt on us from opening up the season [and] losing those first two games."
Even as the Bills' 0-2 start fades in the rear-view mirror, Ryan is sticking with the tempered approach. If it's working, why stop?