Some three hours later, and after Hines returned one other kickoff 101 yards for a go-ahead rating in a 35-23 win over the New England Patriots, the followers have been on their toes chanting “Hamlin! Hamlin! Hamlin!” and Payments gamers holding up three fingers in honor of the injured security’s No. 3 jersey.
No matter questions the Payments confronted relating to being able to taking part in six days after being left surprised and saddened in watching Hamlin having to be resuscitated on the sector in Cincinnati have been answered earlier than the sport was 14 seconds outdated.
“I can’t keep in mind a play that touched me like that I don’t suppose in my life. It’s in all probability No. 1,” quarterback Josh Allen stated. “It’s simply non secular. … You possibly can’t draw that one up or write that one up any higher.”
“OMFG!!!!!!” Hamlin posted on his Twitter account from his hospital mattress on the College of Cincinnati Medical Heart the place he has spent the week progressively recovering.
Credit score: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports activities
“HINES FREE” he tweeted once more after Hines’ second rating. Coach Sean McDermott stated the group reached Hamlin by telephone and had him depend down the group’s remaining huddle within the locker room.
Acquired by Buffalo in a commerce with Indianapolis two months in the past, Hines grew to become the NFL’s eleventh participant to return two kickoffs for scores in a sport, and first since Seattle’s Leon Washington in 2010.
“We as a neighborhood, I really feel like we wanted this win,” stated Hines, earlier than recalling the message Hamlin’s father, Mario, delivered to the group on Wednesday in urging them to play. “He stated, that’s what Damar wished, he would need us to push ahead, and to win in opposition to New England.”
Whereas Hines sparked the win, a lot of the Payments focus remained on the 24-year-old Hamlin, who addressed the group by videoconference on Friday, during which he advised them: “Love you boys.”
Payments cornerback Tre’Davious White, who at instances this season questioned if he’d ever recuperate from a knee damage sustained in November 2021, had problem holding again his feelings after incomes his first interception of the season.
Apologizing for utilizing a profanity in referring to how tough final week was, White famous how Hamlin texted his defensive secondary teammates by apologizing for what he put them via emotionally.
“For him to verify on us?” White stated. “I simply wish to hug the (heck) out of him.”
Payments receiver John Brown, who scored on a 42-yard landing, honored assistant coach Denny Kellington by handing him the ball. It was Kellington who’s credited for his fast on-field response in performing CPR to get Hamlin’s coronary heart beating once more.
Previously 12 months full of adversity placing Buffalo, from a lethal snowstorm over Christmas to a deadly mass-shooting at a grocery store in Might, the Payments confirmed their resilience by uplifting their neighborhood. Overcoming the sudden shock and psychological misery of Hamlin collapsing on the sector, the win secured Buffalo (13-3) the AFC’s No. 2 seed.
The Payments will now host their division rival Dolphins within the wild-card spherical subsequent weekend.
The loss, coupled with Miami beating the New York Jets, eradicated the Patriots (8-9) from the playoffs for the second time in three years, and simply the fourth time in 23 seasons throughout Invoice Belichick’s teaching tenure.
And go away it to receiver Stefon Diggs, who made some extent to go to Hamlin within the College of Cincinnati Medical Heart instantly following the sport in Cincinnati was suspended, to seal the victory with a 49-yard landing catch from Josh Allen to place Buffalo forward 35-23 with 8:51 remaining.
The sold-out crowd — lots of them sporting No. 3 Hamlin shirts and jerseys, and holding up pink hearts within the participant’s honor — erupted as one as Allen walked off the sector along with his palms raised.
On the following kickoff, which went for a touchback, Payments particular groups gamers all raced into the tip zone and motioned to the group. The followers, as one, stood up and set free a large roar.
Allen completed 19 of 31 for 254 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
The Patriots wanted solely a win to clinch a playoff berth, however wound up stumbling in closing the season by shedding 5 of their final seven.
“Pleased with the best way our guys competed and ready. Ultimately, collectively, gamers, coaches, we simply weren’t ok right now,” stated Belichick, whose 19 playoff appearances stay tied with Don Shula on the NFL teaching checklist.
“Right this moment we missed some alternatives, and gave up 4 large performs. These have been the issues that made a distinction within the sport.”
Mac Jones completed 26 of 40 for 243 yards and three touchdowns, together with two to DeVante Parker, and three interceptions — all coming within the second half.
Jones’ remaining two interceptions got here on consecutive drives within the remaining six minutes.
Going through third-and-19 on the Buffalo 22, Jones’ deep go over the center went off the hand of tight finish Hunter Henry, and was picked off by linebacker Matt Milano.
On New England’s subsequent possession, Jones’ go went off the palms of Damien Harris, and into the palms of linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.
Patriots defensive again Devin McCourty had an interception and recovered Devin Singletary’s fumble. The interception was the thirty fifth of McCourty’s 13-year profession, transferring him one behind Ty Regulation and Raymond Clayborn, who’re tied for first on the franchise checklist.
The 35-year-old McCourty made his 205th begin for New England in what might be his remaining sport for the franchise.
Patriots DT DaMarcus Mitchell didn’t return after sustaining a concussion.