Von Miller pulled the old “too slow” trick on his buddy Tyrod Taylor, yanking back just as the Buffalo Bills’ prone quarterback was reaching up to grab the star linebacker’s helping hand.
The two, who are friends, laughed off the whimsical middle school move.
The joke was on Miller, though, when referee Carl Cheffers either didn’t notice Miller and Taylor yukking it up as they had all afternoon or he didn’t see the humor in it.
So, out came the flag.
“I was halfway off the field,” Aqib Talib said. “Next thing I know I heard the crowd start cheering.”
The Broncos’ star linebacker had just buried his face into Taylor’s chest with a textbook tackle midway through the fourth quarter to force a third-down incompletion. The Bills capitalized on the unsportsmanlike conduct call, chewing up more clock before kicking the sealing field goal in their 26-16 win Sunday.
“I’ve got to be smarter than that,” Miller said. “I killed the game today with that penalty. I’ve just got to be better than that.”
Broncos coach Vance Joseph lauded Miller for owning the mistake, but wondered why it was called at all.
“I’m a firm believer in the rules and I read the rules this morning and I didn’t see offering the guy a hand and taking it away as a penalty,” Joseph said Monday.
FAKE PUNT FAILURE: Joseph took the blame for his failed fake punt call a week after he admitted to a rookie mistake for calling an ill-timed timeout in a 42-17 rout of the Cowboys.
That one didn’t matter. This one did.
Trailing 20-16 and facing fourth-and-2 from their 31 in the final seconds of the third quarter, the Broncos tried a fake punt that failed. Deon Lacey tackled rookie De’Angelo Henderson a yard shy of the sticks.
The Broncos had run their offense off the field and mixed in their O-linemen with the punt team running back on.
“So we wanted our offensive line versus their punt return team, which is all defensive backs and one linebacker,” Joseph said. “We ran our O-line back on. We had the perfect look. But we were short one guy.”
Cornerback Lorenzo Doss was late scrambling onto the field.
“It kind of gave them a chance to see what we were doing,” said Joseph, who still decided not to call a timeout and scrap the fake.
“I thought about it, but I watched their guys. They had one guy with his hand on the ground. They had two guys calling timeout, which they can’t do,” Joseph said. “So, we still had a great play. So I didn’t want to waste it.
“But again, it didn’t work. So, that falls on me.”
RUBBING IT IN: Across the Atlantic, the Jaguars pulled off a successful fake punt while leading the Ravens 37-0 .
Corey Grant took a direct snap 58 yards from his 35-yard line to the Ravens 3, punctuating Jacksonville’s 44-7 victory.
Sure enough, a sideline scuffle ensued, as did the broadcast debate about sportsmanship.
But the Jaguars didn’t confess: “It was an opportunity that came about, it’s something that the players practice and if you get what you want, if you get the look, then we’re going to make the call,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said.
And the Ravens didn’t complain: “It’s not my job to care about what they run,” cornerback Jimmy Smith said. “We’re supposed to stop it. If they wanted to do it, that’s what they do. We’d do it. I’m sure we would. I can’t be mad at it.”
FACE PAINT/FACE PALM: Long before the game at London’s Wembley Stadium, the Ravens made a dubious decision with a post on Twitter and Instagram depicting Queen Elizabeth II wearing face paint of the team logo .
The posts were quickly removed, probably because royalty and the NFL don’t often mix well together.
But Baltimore coach John Harbaugh volunteered this: “I think it’s important to remember that ravens do guard the Tower of London.”
REPLAY & RUNOFF: Golden Tate has a spot among the laundry list of rulings that have gone against the Detroit Lions in recent years.
The Lions thought they’d scored the winning touchdown with 8 seconds remaining against the Atlanta Falcons on a short pass to Tate, but he was ruled short of the goal line after a review. Because the clock would have kept running if he’d been ruled down initially — and Detroit was out of timeouts — officials applied a 10-second runoff, ending the game and giving Atlanta a 30-26 victory.
“They ruled it correctly, and that’s the way it is,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said.
If the officials had made the correct call right away, the Lions might have been able to rush to the line and get one more crack at victory.
“I wish I would’ve thrown it a foot higher,” Matthew Stafford said. “It’s a game of inches.”
AP Sports Writers Noah Trister and John Wawrow contributed.
Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton