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Fully healthy, Matt Milano was back to taking starter’s reps in Week 16

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

Buffalo Bills starters didn’t play 100 percent of the snaps on Monday night against the New England Patriots. With a big lead and bigger fish to fry in the postseason, head coach Sean McDermott sat his starters in the fourth quarter.

Struggling with injuries from halftime of Week 1, middle linebacker Matt Milano played all of the starters’ reps in Week 16 for the first time since Week 3 against the Los Angeles Rams and just the second time all season. While the number says he played 88 percent of the snaps, Milano played the same number as other core starters Tre’Davious White, Tremaine Edmunds, and Micah Hyde.

“The last few weeks he’s really come along to the point where we ended up starting him last night,” defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Tuesday. “And man, he makes a difference. He did a terrific job for us and his presence was felt, whether we were bringing him in pressure or if he was in coverage. He’s a vital part of our success on defense and it’s really good to have him back.”

Frazier also went out of his way to point out the good plays Milano made; an open-field tackle of James White, pass coverage on New England’s tight ends, and his tackling as a whole. Milano finished with a sack and 8 tackles.

Having a healthy Milano and Edmunds manning the linebacker spot together for the first time all season will be a game changer as the Bills enter the playoffs next week. It’s expected that neither will play in Week 17.