Monday, January 9, 2023

NFL: Damar Hamlin scores for the Bills, who defeat the Patriots to advance

NFL: Bills win for Damar Hamlin and eliminate Patriots from playoffs

 PARK ORCHARD: Reverberations of "Let's Go Buffalo!" When Nyheim Hines returned the first kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, another roar suddenly broke out as the emotionally charged Bills stadium continued to reverberate with pregame chants to honor injured safety Damar Hamlin.

Three hours later, when Hines returned a second kickoff 101 yards for the winning score in a 35-23 victory over the New England Patriots, the fans were up and chanting, "Hamlin! Hamlin! Hamlin!” and Bills players raising three fingers in remembrance of the injured safety's number jersey no.

Before the game started, there were answers to any questions the Bills had about whether they would be able to play six days after being shocked and saddened to see Hamlin have to be revived on the field in Cincinnati.

I don't think I've ever been so moved by a play as I can recall. Most likely, no. 1," said quarterback Josh Allen. Simply spiritual.... It's impossible to write or draw that one any better.

“OMFG!!!!!!” From his hospital bed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he has been gradually recovering for the past week, Hamlin posted on Twitter.

Following Hines' second score, he tweeted once more, "HINES FREE." According to Coach Sean McDermott, the team called Hamlin and asked him to count down the minutes until the team's last huddle in the locker room.

Hines, who was acquired by Buffalo in a trade with Indianapolis two months ago, became the first player since Leon Washington of Seattle in 2010 to return two kickoffs for scores in a game.

Before recalling the message that Mario, Hamlin's father, sent to the team on Wednesday urging them to play, Hines said, "I feel like we needed this win." He stated, "Damar would want us to push forward and win against New England," and that's exactly what he wanted.

While Hines was the driving force behind the victory, the Bills' primary focus remained on Hamlin, who was 24 years old when he gave an address to the team via videoconference on Friday, in which he stated: I adore you boys.

After recording his first interception of the season, Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White struggled to contain his emotions and at times this season questioned whether he would ever recover from a knee injury he suffered in November 2021.

White noted that Hamlin texted his defensive secondary teammates to apologise for what he put them through emotionally and apologized for using profanity in reference to how difficult the previous week had been.

"So he could check on us?" White stated, I just want to give him the biggest hug ever.

John Brown, a Bills receiver who scored on a 42-yard touchdown, gave the ball to assistant trainer Denny Kellington in honor of him. It is Kellington who is credited with performing CPR on the field quickly to restore Hamlin's heartbeat.

The Buffalo Bills demonstrated their resilience by uplifting their community during a year of adversity that included a fatal mass shooting at a supermarket in May and a deadly snowstorm over Christmas. The win elevated Buffalo (13-3) to the AFC's No. 1 position, overcoming Hamlin's sudden shock and mental anguish. 2 seed.

In the wild-card round next weekend, the Bills will now play the Dolphins, who are in the same division as them.

The Patriots (8-9) were eliminated from the playoffs for just the fourth time in Bill Belichick's 23 seasons as a coach, after the loss and Miami's victory over the New York Jets.

And let Stefon Diggs, a receiver who made it a point to visit Hamlin in the University of Cincinnati Medical Center immediately after the game in Cincinnati was suspended, seal the victory with a 49-yard touchdown catch from Josh Allen, putting Buffalo ahead 35-23 with 8:51 remaining.

The packed crowd, many of whom wore No. As Allen left the field with his hands raised, three Hamlin shirts and jerseys and red hearts held up in his honor erupted in unison.

The Bills' special teams players all rushed into the end zone on the subsequent kickoff, which was intended for a touchback, and made a gesture toward the crowd. One by one, the fans got up and let out a huge roar.

Allen completed 19 of 31 passes for 254 yards, three touchdowns, and one pass defensed.

The Patriots needed just one win to get into the playoffs, but they ended up losing five of their last seven games.

Proud of our team's performance and preparation. Belichick, whose 19 playoff appearances remain tied with Don Shula on the NFL coaching list, stated, "We just weren't good enough today. Collectively, players and coaches, we just weren't good enough today."

“Today, we gave up four big plays and missed some opportunities. Those were the factors that influenced the outcome of the game.

Mac Jones completed 26 of 40 passes for 243 yards, three touchdowns, two of which were passed to DeVante Parker, and three interceptions, all of which came in the second half.

In the final six minutes, Jones made his final two interceptions on consecutive drives.

Linebacker Matt Milano intercepted Jones' deep pass over the middle on third-and-19 at the Buffalo 22 after it bounced off of tight end Hunter Henry.

Tremaine Edmunds, a linebacker, received Jones' pass from Damien Harris on New England's subsequent possession.

Devin McCourty, a defensive back for the Milestone Patriots, made an interception and recovered a fumble from Devin Singletary. McCourty moved one position behind Ty Law and Raymond Clayborn, who are tied for first on the franchise list, with the 35th interception of his 13-year career.

In what could be his last New England game, McCourty, 35, made his 205th start for the team.

Injuries DaMarcus Mitchell, a defensive tackle for the Patriots, was injured and did not play.

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