Nobody knows how Buffalo bills Sunday, they were set to appear in their first game since Damar Hamlin’s injury, but if the first play is any indication, the Bills look ready to go.
With Hamlin watching from a hospital in Ohio, the Bills honored him before the game and then Nehem Haynes honored him on kickoff by returning it 96 yards for a touchdown. The stunning touchdown sent everyone at Highmark Stadium into a frenzy, as players and fans alike celebrated the unlikely fact that the Bills managed to score in their first game since Hamlin’s injury.
The score marked the first time in 18 years that the Bills had returned an opening kickoff for a touchdown and the first time they had done so at home.
It was an emotional way to start a game for a team that’s been on a roller coaster of emotions all week after watching Hamlin suffer a cardiac arrest Monday night in Cincinnati. In the hours after the injury, it wasn’t even clear if he would live, but the Bills safety has been making steady progress over the past few days.
On Wednesday evening, he was able to communicate with his medical team for the first time by writing notes on a piece of paper. By Thursday, he was able to communicate verbally. By Friday, he was able to participate in FaceTime phone calls, and on Sunday, he was watching the Patriots-Bills game with his family.
Hamlin was watching when the kickoff return occurred and had a slight four-letter reaction.
Perhaps he was just as excited in the third quarter when Hines returned another kickoff for a touchdown.
That TD gave the Bills a 21-17 lead in the second half, and Hamlin was equally excited about that comeback.
Hines is the first NFL player since 2010 to return kickoffs twice for touchdowns in the same game.
You really can’t write a better script than this. Six days ago, Hamlin’s health was the only thing anyone could think of, and six days later, Bills put a giant smile on his face not once, but twice. It was a storybook way for the Bills to start their game against the Bills Patriotswhich is a game they need to win The No. 2 overall seed in the AFC.
The Bills and the NFL’s 31 other teams honored Hamlin on Sunday. Not only did most of the players wear Hamlin’s jersey in warm-ups, but each team also marked their home court “3” in blue paint.
Invoices2 seed in the AFC while knocking the Patriots out of the playoffs.
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