Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano took aim at his team’s energy in a 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday’s divisional-round playoff game, calling out the team for failing to seize any momentum in the disappointing loss.
The Bengals jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the January 22 game and seemed to seize all momentum, easily making their way through the Bills’ defense while keeping the pressure on Josh Allen and the offense.
After the game, Milano offered a blunt assessment of what went wrong.
‘There was no real energy, juice, no momentum,” Milano told reporters after the game. “Usually we’ll get a stop [and the] offense will score. Or offense will score, defense will make a turnover, something to bring some change in momentum. But there was none of that this week.”
Matt Milano: ‘We Didn’t Execute Tonight’
Milano also put blame on the team’s execution on both sides of the ball, noting that they allowed Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow to have too much time in the pocket and didn’t connect on enough big plays on offense.
“We just didn’t execute tonight,” Milano said. “Tackling … no big plays, wasn’t getting after the quarterback and wasn’t making big plays down the field.”
Milano may have had the best game of the struggling Bills defense, making 10 tackles including one key sack on a third down in the first quarter. The Bengals were already leading 14-0 and driving near midfield, but Milano’s sack forced a punt and the Bills scored a touchdown on their next drive to cut the lead to 14-7. The Bills would come no closer the rest of the way.
Sean McDermott Remains Optimistic After Loss
Though the Bills started the season as Super Bowl favorites, they finished one game short of the AFC Championship for the second consecutive year. Though the Bills now face a long offseason with some difficult roster decisions — key defensive starters Jordan Poyer and Tremaine Edmunds are set to become free agents — head coach Sean McDermott remained optimistic about the outlook for the future.
“This is a good football team and you learn from things like this,” McDermott said. “You keep knocking on the door. That’s what you do. You stay steadfast in your focus and your approach. You work your tail off.”
McDermott also gave credit to the Bengals for their performance, saying he hopes the Bills can come out of the experienced improved for the future.
“Again, that’s a good football team we just played, and they played better than we did,” he said. “They coached better than we did. And we’ve got to learn from this and make the proper adjustments so we can continue to move this organization forward because that’s the direction we’re heading. That’s what we have to do if we want to continue to knock at this door and move beyond where we were this year. So the goal hasn’t changed and won’t change for this organization. And we’ve got to continue to do everything we can to get there. That’s the goal.”