The Denver Broncos forced a Buffalo Bills punt and were set to get the ball back down seven points with more than seven minutes remaining.

Then a flag flew from the referee's pocket.

Von Miller had driven quarterback Tyrod Taylor to the ground on an incomplete pass. The pass-rusher reached out his hand to offer Taylor assistance up, before putting it away in a joking fashion and laughing.

Miller was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Bills' drive new life. Ten plays later, Buffalo kicked a field goal with 3:14 left to go up 10 points. The Broncos only got the ball once more in desperation mode before ultimately falling, 26-16.

"I can't put my team in a situation like that," Miller said of the penalty, via the team's official website. "I've brought us home 50 million times. I've closed games 50 million times. I've got to be smarter than that. I'm always on the rookies and all the young guys on being smart and doing this and doing that, and 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 haven't been in [these] situations since my rookie season, but one thing about it [is], I'm always able to bounce back. I always learn from my mistakes. I just can't kill us. I killed the game today with that penalty. I just have to be better than that, and I will be better than that."

The flag was a surprise to both players, who at the moment were laughing at Miller's "too slow" gag.

"I know Tyrod ... I don't even talk to quarterbacks. I don't do anything with quarterbacks," Miller said. "But Tyrod, we were laughing and joking the whole game, and on that play I just made a very, very crucial mistake at a vital point in the game ... I've got to be a better sportsman, and I just can't put my team in that situation."

Added Taylor: "Yeah, me and Von came out the same year. Good friends. We were actually laughing on the field. I don't think he knew. I honestly didn't know at the time it was going to be a flag. Like I said, we were laughing. But [it] ended up working out in our favor, so just a bad play by him at the time. Pretty sure he wishes he could have that back, but got to move forward."

Broncos coach Vance Joseph said he didn't see the aftermath of the play, but said referee Carl Cheffers "called it, so I guess that's what he thought it was. It's pro football, but he called it."