Sep 26, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) reacts to his defensive play against the Washington Football Team during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bills, LB Matt Milano agree to 2-year extension

The Buffalo Bills agreed to a two-year extension with All-Pro linebacker Matt Milano, ESPN reported Sunday.

The deal runs through the 2026 season and creates about $6 million in cap space for 2023, per the report.

Milano earned his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections last season with 99 tackles, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in 15 starts.

A fifth-round pick in 2017, Milano has 458 tackles, 10.5 sacks, eight interceptions and nine fumble recoveries in 85 games (69 starts) with Buffalo.

Milano, 28, signed a four-year, $41.5 million contract in March 2021. Last March, the Bills restructured the deal and saved more than $5 million in cap space for 2022.

–Field Level Media

Bills quarterback Josh Allen walks off the field after throwing an interception late in the fourth quarter at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park on Jan. 22  In the background the Cincinnati Bengals players celebrate.

Ty 012223 Dejected Josh Allen After Fourth Quarter Interception

Bills QB Josh Allen says elbow surgery not necessary

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen said he doesn’t expect to have offseason surgery on his right elbow.

He told reporters Monday that team doctors are hopeful that rest and recovery will be enough.

Allen’s season ended Sunday with a 27-10 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC divisional playoff game.

He originally injured his throwing elbow in a Week 9 loss to the New York Jets and was a regular on the injury list for the remainder of the season, although he never missed a start.

Allen completed 25 of 42 passes for 265 yards with no touchdowns and one interception against the Bengals.

He was 13-3 in the regular season, passing for 4,283 yards with 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions as the Bills earned the AFC’s No. 2 seed.

Allen, 26, has thrown for 18,397 yards with 138 TDs and 60 picks in 77 games (76 starts) since Buffalo drafted him with the seventh overall pick in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) against the New England Patriots during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

All eyes on Bills’ journey as Dolphins scramble at QB

The No. 7 seed Miami Dolphins are preparing to start seventh-round draft pick Skylar Thompson at quarterback for their first playoff game since 2016 when they face the second-seeded Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Tua Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol, his third stint there this season, and has been ruled out. Teddy Bridgewater could return this week from a dislocated pinkie finger on his throwing hand provided he has no setbacks, according to Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel.

Thompson completed 20 of 31 passes for 152 yards in last week’s 11-6 win over the New York Jets that locked up the Dolphins’ playoff spot. In seven appearances (two starts) in the regular season, he completed 57.1 percent of his passes with one touchdown and three interceptions.

“I feel like I got a pretty good feel for what a playoff game kind of would look like just last week,” Thompson told reporters. “It was a win-or-go-home-type of situation for us, so getting to experience kind of what that felt like last week I think was helpful. This week is just going to be like any other week for me this entire season.”

He faces the tall task of leading Miami against division-rival Buffalo, which ended the regular season on a seven-game winning streak and will be riding an emotional high from the latest positive news about safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac event in a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hamlin was discharged from a Buffalo hospital Wednesday after passing a series of cardiac, neurological and vascular tests. Hamlin has returned home to continue recovering with his family at his side.

Bills coach Sean McDermott said that the Bills are looking forward to welcoming Hamlin back whenever he feels ready.

“For us, as Damar’s dad has said to us multiple times and Damar has mentioned as well, they want us to go do our job and that’s what we’ve got to do,” McDermott said Wednesday.

In their first game since Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, the Bills returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, one of Nyheim Hines’ two return scores on the day, and they defeated the New England Patriots 35-23.

The Bills and Dolphins split their season series, with the Dolphins winning 21-19 in Miami during Week 3 and the Bills prevailing 32-29 in Buffalo during Week 15, though Tagovailoa played both games for the Dolphins.

Josh Allen had 400 passing yards in the loss to Miami and threw for four touchdowns in the victory. He’s 8-2 in his career against Miami, a team that ranked second in the NFL this season in blitz rate.

“They bring a variety of pressures … You’ve got to go in with a really good plan, whether it’s blocking it up or getting the ball out quick,” Allen said.

A Super Bowl favorite since the offseason, the Bills had an impressive year, featuring the second-ranked scoring offense (28.4 points per game) and the second-best scoring defense (17.9 points allowed). Allen threw for 35 touchdowns and ran for another seven as the team’s second-leading rusher (762 yards) behind Devin Singletary (819).

The Dolphins, who last won a playoff game in 2000, started the season 8-3, with the addition of Tyreek Hill (119 catches, 1,710 yards, seven TDs) boosting the offense before Tagovailoa’s head injuries interrupted his availability.

Miami’s injury woes run much deeper than the quarterback position.

Leading rusher Raheem Mostert (891 yards) has a broken thumb. He didn’t practice Wednesday, nor did linebacker Bradley Chubb (ankle, hand) or offensive linemen Terron Armstead (toe, pec, knee, hip), Liam Eichenberg (hand), Kendall Lamm (ankle) and Brandon Shell (knee, ankle).

Backup Miami running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (illness) and wideouts Jaylen Waddle (ankle) and Cedrick Wilson Jr. (hip, groin) were limited, as was Bridgewater, who has an ailing knee along with his finger.

For the Bills, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday. Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (hamstring) was limited.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills fans show support for Damar Hamlin before a game against the New England Patriots at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bills paying Damar Hamlin full salary on IR

The Buffalo Bills will pay safety Damar Hamlin’s full salary while he is on injured reserve, NFL Network said Sunday.

Hamlin, 24, is finishing the second season of his four-year, $3.64 million rookie contract.

The contract includes a standard split that pays him at a lower rate if he lands on IR, which he did on Friday.

Hamlin’s base salary for 2022 is $825,000, or $455,000 if he spent the whole season on IR.

He stood to lose about $20,500 in pay for being on IR in Week 18.

Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game at Cincinnati and remains hospitalized.

According to NFL Network, Hamlin plans to watch Buffalo’s game Sunday against the visiting New England Patriots from his bed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin signs autographs prior to the game against the Washington Football Team at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Breathing tube out, Damar Hamlin talks to Bills’ teammates

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is talking to teammates after having his breathing tube removed.

According to multiple reports Friday morning, Hamlin, 24, is breathing on his own for the first time since going into cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game in Cincinnati. NFL Network reported Hamlin addressed the entire team Friday via FaceTime.

Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Thursday that Hamlin had made “substantial” progress although he remained in the intensive care unit, his family by his side.

Dr. Timothy Pritts and Dr. William Knight of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center addressed the media in the first statement from doctors and detailed Hamlin’s recovery as well as the road ahead.

“We would like to share that there has been substantial improvement in his condition over the past 24 hours,” Dr. Timothy Pritts said. “We had significant concern about him after the injury and after the event on the field and he is making substantial progress. As of this morning, he is beginning to awaken and it appears that his neurological conditional and function is intact.”

Still, Pritts said Hamlin “continues to be critically ill” and remains in the intensive care unit. His family remains by his side.

Dr. William Knight noted that Hamlin has been on a “long and difficult road. He has been fairly sick and made a remarkable improvement. He’s demonstrating signs of recovery and improvement.”

Pritts noted that Hamlin woke up Wednesday night and asked via writing whether the Bills won the game. The game was suspended.

Per Pritts, doctors responded to his question with the following: “The answer is yes. Damar, you won the game of life.”

The NFL announced Thursday that the Bills-Bengals game has been canceled.

Buffalo (12-3) returned to practice Thursday to prepare for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the visiting New England Patriots (8-8).

Hamlin recorded 91 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 15 games (13 starts) during his second NFL season in 2022. The Bills drafted him in the sixth round out of Pitt in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Dec 24, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Buffalo Bills running back James Cook (28) fends off tackler Chicago Bears defensive back DeAndre Houston-Carson (36) in the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Bills run over Bears, clinch third straight AFC East title

Devin Singletary and James Cook combined for 205 rushing yards and ran for a touchdown each, Josh Allen had three total TDs and the visiting Buffalo Bills topped the Chicago Bears 35-13 on Saturday to clinch the AFC East title.

Buffalo (12-3) prevailed during a frigid afternoon at Soldier Field, stretching its winning streak to six while earning the franchise’s third consecutive division crown. The Bears fell to 3-12 after losing their eighth straight.

The Bills overcame two interceptions and a fumble to outgain the Bears 426-209.

Chicago was unable to hold on after taking a 10-6 lead into halftime. Justin Fields connected with Dante Pettis for a 6-yard touchdown pass to cap an 8-play, 64-yard drive on the game’s first possession, and the Bears added a 37-yard Cairo Santos field goal late in the second quarter.

Santos kicked a 35-yarder to draw the Bears to within 21-13 with 10:19 to go, but Chicago came no closer. Allen rushed for a 4-yard score with 3:45 remaining and connected with Dawson Knox for a 13-yard TD with 1:02 to go. Allen threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Gabe Davis on Buffalo’s opening drive.

Excelling on the ground, Buffalo visited the end zone on its first two possessions of the third quarter to seize control.

Singletary punctuated an eight-play, 86-yard drive coming out of halftime with a 33-yard scoring run. Cook added a 27-yard touchdown run just 2:54 later, as the Bills capitalized three plays after the defense forced a David Montgomery fumble.

Fields finished 15 for 23 for 119 yards and a touchdown pass and gained 11 yards on seven carries. Montgomery rushed 16 times for 62 yards.

Allen was 15 for 26 for 172 yards through the air with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He added 41 rushing yards and a touchdown on six carries.
Singletary gained 106 yards on 12 carries, while Cook had 99 yards on 11 carries.

The temperature was 9 degrees at kickoff, with a wind chill of -12.

–Field Level Media