New York Jets defensive coordinator, and former Buffalo Bills head coach Gregg Williams came under criticism on Thursday night after his unit committed 11 penalties for 118 yards, including a whopping six personal fouls against the Denver Broncos.
The chippy atmosphere came to a head late in the game, when the Jets committed two late personal fouls against Denver quarterback Brett Rypien -- this after they'd already picked up four such penalties during the course of the game.
Broncos head coach Vig Fangio responded by urging his team to skip postgame handshakes with Jets players, instead making a beeline for the locker room.
Fangio later explained he didn't appreciate the extracurricular activities from the Jets defense, and was hoping to head off any potential postgame scuffles involving his players seeking revenge for the barrage of dirty hits.
Former Carolina Panthers great turned NFL Network analyst Steve Smith raised the issue of Williams' reputation as a coach who encourages his players to make questionable plays, alluding to his role in the New Orleans Saints' "bountygate" scandal about a decade ago.
"What I'm talking about is, straight Gregg Williams -- wherever he goes, the nonsense follows," Smith said. "That's how he runs his defense, and that's how he does it. Straight up. I'm not saying you have to believe me. I'm saying I'm willing to put myself out there and call a spade, a spade.
"And that's what Gregg Williams has always done, that's who he is, and that's what he preaches."
Jets head coach Adam Gase said after the game that he was frustrated with the poor choices by his defensive players that helped send the team to a loss against Denver -- and an 0-4 start on the season.
“We had multiple chances to get off the field," Gase said. "We hurt ourselves. Penalties were just brutal. Made them punt one time and just couldn’t do the right stuff. When we did hit Rypien, we were hitting him late and were getting personal fouls. It’s ridiculous.
“Really, it’s just decision making. We’ve got to make the right decisions. We can’t just keep doing the same things over and over and over again.”
But Gase said he understood Fangio's move to take his team off the field quickly.
“I saw those guys start going off and I heard Vic yelling at his guys saying ‘Get in the locker room,’ so I saw what was going on. I think he was just trying to make sure we didn’t have any kind of melee. It was getting heated.
“I’ve known Vic for a minute. I’m sure I’ll talk to him here sometime.”
Fangio said the deluge of personal fouls was beginning to anger his team.
“Well, there were just a couple personal fouls there at the end and our sideline was getting pissed off about it, and I just wanted to avoid any kind of confrontation at the end of the game and have it get ugly,” Fangio said. “So I tried to get our guys to leave quickly just to avoid anything happening there.
The Jets appeared to ramp up the intensity after a hard first-quarter sack of quarterback Sam Darnold sent him to the locker room to be examined. Darnold was spun around before he was slammed to the ground and came down on his throwing shoulder, but he returned to the game shortly after he was checked out.
The Jets were later flagged for slamming Rypien to the turf when he was defenseless after delivering a pass, as well as for grabbing his face mask.