ORCHARD PARK, NY – The NFL may have laxed their stance on celebrations this season, but their reputation as the “No Fun League” is alive and well, after Broncos linebacker Von Miller’s attempt at a joke turned into a costly penalty during Buffalo’s 26-16 win.
With 7:43 remaining in the 4th quarter, Buffalo led Denver 23-16 and faced 3rd-and-6 from the Denver 46. At the snap, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor quickly came under duress from Miller and awkwardly launched a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage as the former Super Bowl MVP drove Taylor to the turf. As Miller got to his feet, he extended a hand to Taylor in a pretend effort to help him off the turf, only to pull it away the second Taylor reached for it.
Despite the two friends sharing a laugh afterward, the referees didn’t think it was so funny and flagged Miller for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which gave the Bills an automatic first down and allowed them to milk the clock before putting the game out of reach with a field goal.
Funny as it was, the joke cost Denver a shot at potentially tying what was at the time a one-possession game. Miller took responsibility for the miscue and the loss, saying it set a bad example for younger players.
“I can’t put my team in situations like that,” Miller explained. “I brought us home field many times, I’ve closed games fifty million times. I’ve got to be smarter than that. I’m always on the rookies and all the young guys [about] ‘being smart and doing this and doing that. Then I go out there and do something like that, in a crucial situation in the game, I’ve just got to be better than that … I killed the game today with that penalty. I’ve just got to be better than that, and I will be better than that.”
Miller added that he generally doesn’t say anything to opposing quarterbacks, but having entered the league with Taylor in 2011, they both share a friendship that apparently led to some chatter out on the field.
While Miller lamented the decision, Taylor relished it, admitting that it remains comical moment from his perspective.
“We are good friends and we were actually laughing on the field,” the 28-year-old said. “I do not think he knew, I honestly did not know at the time it was going to be a flag, like I said we were laughing.
“I stuck out my hand, thought he was going to help me up but that was like an old-school move.”
Despite getting played by Miller, it was Taylor who got the last laugh. In a winning effort the Bills QB finished 20-of-26 in the air, for 213 yards and 2 touchdowns, culminating in the highest passer rating of his career. The W however, was most important.
“I do not really expect people to help me up, but that time he extended his hand,” Taylor said. “Ultimately, I got played in the situation. It ended up working in our favor in ended the drive. We were able to run some time on the clock and make them burn all their time out. Ultimately it worked out better for us.”
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