Matt Milano committed a costly penalty in the Buffalo Bills‘ season-opening loss to the New York Jets, and now the Pro Bowl linebacker will have to pay even more.
The NFL published on September 16 a list of all fines from Week 1, including a $10,927 fine for Milano for taunting after his second-quarter interception. The penalty may have cost the Bills points on the drive, which turned out to be critical in the 22-16 overtime loss to the Jets.
After the game, Bills head coach Sean McDermott bemoaned the mistakes from the Bills including four turnovers from quarterback Josh Allen.
Matt Milano’s Penalty Stung Bills
Milano was flagged for taunting after intercepting Jets quarterback Zach Wilson in the second quarter, with the Bills leading 10-3.
The turnover could have given the Bills a chance to take an early two-touchdown lead over the Jets, but Milano’s penalty pushed the team back 15 yards and the Bills ended up settling for a field goal.
After the game, McDermott said the mistakes made it impossible for the Bills to win.
“We made it pretty hard on ourselves,” McDermott said after the game, via The Associated Press. “When you turn the ball over four times, it’s hard to win in this league. You’re playing two opponents: the one on the other sideline and yourself. That’s what we did tonight and that’s not the right formula to win games.”
Though the Bills took a 10-point lead into halftime, the Jets were able to come back to tie the game and take the game late in the fourth quarter after a fumble by Allen. The Bills tied the game with a late field goal, but the Jets were able to win in overtime on a punt return by undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson.
Allen put the blame on himself, telling reporters after the game that his turnovers were the deciding factor in the game.
“I cost our team tonight,” Allen said, via The Associated Press. “It sucks when you feel like the reason, and I am the reason we lost.”
Matt Milano Earns Praise
The penalty was an uncharacteristic lapse for Milano, who has gained a reputation as a quiet and steady leader in Buffalo. The Pro Bowl linebacker earned praise this week from McDermott, who said Milano has been important in helping develop teammate Terrel Bernard into a starting linebacker.
“Matt’s seen a number of snaps of football in the Bills uniform and, because of that, in the NFL,” McDermott said, via SI.com. “And so the experiences, there’s no substitute for experience.”
While Milano’s impact against the Jets may have been more visible, McDermott said the second-year Bernard also made a number of key plays.
“Terrel did some good things in the game last week and then there’s some things collectively that he and we need to get better at,” McDermott said. “And that just comes through being young and making some of those mistakes.”
Bernard won the starting middle linebacker job after an open competition throughout the summer. He replaces Tremaine Edmunds, the Pro Bowler who left in free agency to join the Chicago Bears.