Don’t look now, but Rex Ryan and the Bills are on a roll

Rex Ryan has bounced from portly to svelte to his current sort-of-chunky state.

He’s been outlandish, outrageous and over-the-top more times than anybody in his line of work. He has digested his fair share of crow.

He is a showman and entertainer, a football savant and football nerd. He also happens to be a pretty darn good football coach no matter how much the sanctimonious crowd tries to marginalize him because of his style.

Ryan hit rock-bottom on Thursday night, Sept. 25. His old team had just lit him up for 37 points. His new team was an unadulterated mess.

The lap band-less man and his twin brother were laughingstocks.

The Bills became a league-wide punchline after some curious stealth shenanigans by ownership prompted offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s ouster.

If Rex were any heavier, he’d have fallen right through the thin ice that he apparently was standing on into an abyss of coaching rejects. The fat lady was warming up her vocal chords.

The end was surely near, right?

Not exactly.

Sexy Rexy has jolted the AFC landscape with a middle-fingered message to everyone that left him for dead: Don’t ever count him out.

Buffalo’s 30-19 road win over the Rams on Sunday transformed a lost season into a relevant one. The Bills (3-2) won their third in a row for the first time since 2011 with the bottom-feeder 49ers and Dolphins on the horizon.

LeSean McCoy may be the Bills’ only difference-maker on offense, but, boy, what a difference he makes.

LeSean McCoy may be the Bills’ only difference-maker on offense, but, boy, what a difference he makes.

(Jae C. Hong/AP)

“You know me,” Ryan cracked in La La Land. “I’m just an average coach.”

It’s the first time in 50 years that Buffalo won three in a row after losing its first two of the season.

Not bad for an average coach.

New offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, Ryan’s right-hand man with the Jets for years, has breathed life into an offense that’s down to one difference maker: LeSean McCoy.

The rocky start coupled with star wide receiver Sammy Watkins’ season-ending foot problems were supposed to signal the end for this offense. Lynn, however, has weaved magic with a smart scheme to highlight the game-breaking McCoy, who rushed for 150 yards on an eye-popping 8.3 yards per carry against Los Angeles.

“That was a heck of a game,” Ryan said of his explosive running back. “Man, oh man. He just keeps playing great.”

Ryan’s defense, embarrassed by Ryan Fitzpatrick & Co. in Week 2, has allowed the same number of points in the past three weeks as it did in the home loss to the Jets.

“You’re seeing 11 guys out there playing as one,” Ryan said. “We’re fighting like crazy.”

The Bills have outscored opponents 79-37 without committing a turnover during the three-game revival. They’ve trailed for only seven minutes, nine seconds in those wins.

For all the impact that Lynn has made, Ryan’s hallmark remains his defense. The Bills flummoxed Carson Palmer (4 INTs) and pitched a road shutout against the Brady-less Patriots before making a pivotal second-half play against the Rams to keep this feel-good train rolling.

Nickell Robey-Coleman’s third-quarter pick-six of Case Keenum gives the Bills the lead for good.

Nickell Robey-Coleman’s third-quarter pick-six of Case Keenum gives the Bills the lead for good.

(Jae C. Hong/AP)

Nickell Robey-Coleman’s 41-yard pick-six off Case Keenum in the third quarter gave the Bills a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. No-name outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who’s starting for injured first-round pick Shaq Lawson, had three sacks to give him a NFL-high seven through five weeks.

Scan the AFC landscape. Which non-division leaders scare you?

Do the 3-2 Ravens, losers of two in a row, instill fear? How about the 2-2 Chiefs? The Raiders (4-1) and Broncos (4-1), tied atop the AFC West, might be legitimate playoff contenders.

The Bills might be too.

Who would have believed that three weeks ago when Ryan’s seat was simmering?

Rex is soaring. The Jets (1-4) are sputtering.

The Bills are just one game behind the Evil Empire in the AFC East. It’s a familiar position for Ryan, who has played second fiddle to the Patriots for the better part of his head coaching career.

If the Bills don’t trip up against the 49ers and Dolphins, who are a collective 2-8, and the Tom Brady F.U. Tour rolls along as expected, a Week 8 showdown in Buffalo for first place in the AFC East awaits.

Count out Rex Ryan at your own peril.

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rex ryan
ryan fitzpatrick
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