A day later, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan still was fuming over the victory-formation blitz by the Pittsburgh Steelers -- specifically, safety Mike Mitchell, who launched himself at quarterback Michael Vick.
"I thought that was kind of bush league," Ryan said Monday. "I can understand it in a short-yardage situation; you want to praise the guy for timing it right and all that stuff, there' s no question. But, in that part of the game, when we're just kneeling on it, I was surprised by it to say the least and disappointed."
"I thought that was kind of bush league. In that part of the game, when we're just kneeling on it, I was surprised by it to say the least and disappointed."Rex Ryan
It happened in the final seconds of the Jets' surprising 20-13 win Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Mitchell got a running start and tried to dive over center Nick Mangold, hoping to hit Vick and cause a fumble at midfield. But the flying Mitchell flipped over Mangold, resembling a gymnast on a vault.
Tempers flared and there was pushing and shoving before order was restored for the final kneel-down. Afterward, several other Jets players expressed their displeasure, calling it "a dirty play."
Ryan wasn't asked about it until Monday.
"I have no idea [if the Steelers coach that], you have to ask them, but I've played against them a long time and never seen that before," said Ryan, whose team snapped an eight-game losing streak.
Ryan was hot after the game. As he approached midfield for the handshake, he was caught on TV yelling, "F--- you!" at someone. Presumably, it was one of the game officials. There didn't appear to be any acrimony during a brief postgame embrace with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
"I think I was saying, 'Thank you,' " Ryan said jokingly, alluding to his language.
Turning serious, he said: "Emotions run high in games. Sometimes it's best to ... what happens on the field stays on the field. That's where it stems from. It's a very emotional game. Obviously, I've got to do a good job of controlling my emotions. Things happen. I'm sorry if I offended anybody."
By rule, Ryan could be fined for taunting. The NFL defines taunting as "the use of abusive, threatening, or insulting language or gestures to opponents, teammates, officials, or representatives of the league."
Ryan refused to say if his profanity was directed at an official.
Minutes before Mitchell's leap, Ryan was assessed an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for arguing a penalty on Vick. Ryan was upset because, as he explained after the game, he believed the officials "protected" Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger better than they did Vick.
Vick absorbed a few big hits outside the pocket, angering the Jets. At the same time, the Steelers were peeved by Jason Babin's low, after-the-whistle hit on Roethlisberger. The play was blown dead because of a delay-of-game penalty, but Babin fired through the line and dived at Roethlisberger's knees. He was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
Afterward, Babin said he kept playing because the whistle was "faint." He also said Steelers right guard David DeCastro threw him into Roethlisberger, but the replay did not appear to show that.