NFL: Buffalo, winner for Hamlin, seeded N.2 in the play-offs

The Buffalo Bills ensured they were seeded No.2 in the American Conference in the NFL play-offs on Sunday, during the final day of the regular season marked by many tributes paid to their hospitalized player Damar Hamlin .

The 24-year-old, whose condition is improving six days after he suffered a heart attack on the pitch in Cincinnati, posted on Twitter a first photo of him in his hospital bed, trying to watch the match won by his team (35-23) against the New England Patriots.

And he did not have to wait long to see that his teammates, after the emotion felt before the kick-off of this match described as “a celebration of life” by general manager Brandon Beane, were over-motivated to offer him victory.

After barely 14 seconds, the time for Nyheim Hines to recover the ball at the kickoff given by the Patriots and to swallow 96 yards sprinting to the touchdown, the Bills were indeed already in front of the score.

And Hamlin immediately tweeted: “God is behind this, it’s no coincidence”.

Proof that this day was not like the others, a rarity, Hines repeated the same victorious comeback, after a dismissal in the 3rd quarter, this time riding 101 yards to the in-goal.

This success allows the Bills to finish behind the Kansas City Chiefs, who will be exempted from the 1st round of the play-offs. If these teams were to meet in the American Conference finals, it would be on neutral ground, because Monday’s game between Cincinnati and Buffalo will not be finished. But his result could have changed the final ranking.

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Tribute to Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills before the game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers on January 08, 2023 in Santa Clara, California (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP – EZRA SHAW)

In the other stadiums, demonstrations of support for Hamlin were repeated, with in particular “Love for Damar” everywhere, on t-shirts, sweaters, coats, boxes in the stands, giant screens…

Now, the program of the American Conference is now known, the Dolphins composing the last ticket of the play-offs, thanks to their victory against the New York Jets (11-6) combined with the defeat of the Patriots.

Miami (N.7) will be forced to the feat in Buffalo (N.2), just like Baltimore (N.6) in Cincinnati (N.3) finalist of the last Super Bowl. Jacksonville (N.4) will receive the Los Angeles Chargers (N.5).

The table of the National Conference will be known in the evening, after the other matches of the day, Philadelphia can secure its 1st place.

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