During a day in the NFL filled with controversy, one of the more controversial in-game decisions came from Broncos defensive leader Von Miller.

With 7:43 remaining in the game, Miller’s pressure up the middle forced Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor to throw early to his wide receiver Jordan Matthews, a pass that was broken up by defensive tackle Adam Gotsis.

Miller put Taylor onto the ground and stood up quickly, offering Taylor a hand. As Taylor reached up, Miller pulled his hand up and walked away — a grade-school joke that had both Miller and Taylor laughing — and then watched a referee pull out his yellow flag and toss it into the air.

Penalty on number 58; 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. Instead of fourth-and-six, the Bills now had a fresh first-and-10 on the Denver 31-yard line, perfectly in range for Bills kicker Steven Hauschka.

“I just wasn’t thinking. I know Tyrod, he was talking, smiling. I don’t even talk to quarterbacks; I don’t even do anything with quarterbacks,” Miller explained after the game. “On that play, I just made a very, very crucial mistake at a vital point in the game.”

Miller’s penalty resulted in the Bills possessing the ball for an additional 4:29, winding the clock all the way from 7:43 to 3:14 before Hauschka’s 27-yard field goal made it a 10-point game. With 3:09 left after the kickoff, the Broncos  were forced to try and score twice. They couldn’t get it done — going out on downs after seven plays — allowing Taylor to come onto the field, kneel twice, and secure the win for Buffalo.

It goes without saying that no one actually knows if the Broncos would have been able to convert after the penalty. The offense had been sputtering in the second half, only managing 94 total yards, throwing two interceptions and surrendering a turnover-on-downs. But on one play, with the two teams only separated by seven points, Miller robbed his own team of an opportunity to convert a strong defensive stand.

“I’ve got to be a better sportsman, and I just can’t put our team in a situation like that,” Miller said. “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.”

Miller and the Broncos now move on to a divisional challenge against the Oakland Raiders. Miller knows he has to correct crucial mistakes like his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, because the Raiders have an offense that can punish a team for such mistakes.

“I always learn from my mistakes,” Miller said. “I just can’t kill us. I killed the game [Sunday] with that penalty. I’ve just got to be better than that, and I will be better than that.”