The Buffalo Bills ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown 14 seconds into their matchup against the Latest England Patriots Sunday afternoon within the regular season finale.
It was the team’s first game because the Bills’ safety, Damar Hamlin, collapsed and suffered cardiac arrest within the midst of a Monday night game against the Bengals in Cincinnati — and the team said its stunning success from the very start of the sport was in Hamlin’s honor.
Because the game began, Hamlin’s Twitter account posted a photograph of him watching from his hospital bed, wearing a “Love for Damar” jersey along with his hands forming the form of a heart. Shortly after, Hamlin appeared to react to running back Nyheim Hines’ jaw-dropping play mere seconds into the sport, tweeting, “OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
The NFL and the Bills interpreted the play as a tribute to Hamlin: Following the touchdown, the NFL tweeted, “that was for 3,” and the Bills tweeted, “meant to be,” noting that it had been three years and three months since their last kickoff return for a touchdown.
Other tributes to Hamlin ahead of and at the beginning of Sunday’s game were plentiful.
In a Sunday morning tweet, the Bills appeared to dedicate the sport to Hamlin, 24: “Today is for 3,” the tweet said, alongside an image of Hamlin’s #3 jersey.
That number was omnipresent from the beginning of Sunday’s game: The Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen carried a #3 flag out onto the sphere in Hamlin’s honor prior to kickoff, as cameras panned over the stands at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, Latest York — the Bills’ home turf — where fans waved signs with sayings reminiscent of “Do it for Hamlin” and “Hamlin One Team One Family.”
The Bills also planned to wear “3” hats on the sidelines in honor of Hamlin’s number, and a special “3” patch on their jerseys, in accordance with the NFL. And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told fans in an announcement Saturday that “players and coaches from all 32 teams will wear “Love for Damar 3″ T-shirts during pregame warmups in a league-wide show of support for Damar.”
The “3” in each 30-yard line number on the sphere was also outlined the Bills’ colours of red or blue, the NFL said.
The Patriots also tweeted a photograph of a #3 jersey inside its locker room emblazoned with the phrase, “Love for Damar.”
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Before the sport got underway, the Bills’ medical and training staff were honored on the sphere for rushing to Hamlin’s assistance following his mid-game collapse.
Hamlin collapsed after having made a success in the primary quarter of the sport against the Bengals. Trainers surrounded Hamlin and he received CPR for several minutes because the Bills knelt to wish on the sphere. In response to an announcement from the Bills, “his heartbeat was restored on the sphere and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment,” referring to the University of Cincinnati’s Level 1 trauma center.
That game was suspended after which postponed. The NFL said it is not going to be made up.
Sunday’s game comes a day after Hamlin made his first public comments since he collapsed, thanking fans for his or her support and asking them to maintain the prayers coming.
“Thankful for everybody who has reached out and prayed,” Hamlin tweeted Saturday. “This can make me stronger on the road to recovery, keep praying for me!”
In a tweet Saturday, the Bill said that in accordance with Hamlin’s physicians, he “is making continued progress in his recovery yet stays in critical condition.”
“He continues to breathe on his own and his neurological function is great,” the tweet continued.
Experts who will not be involved in Hamlin’s treatment suggested that a rare phenomenon called “commotio cordis” might be responsible, noting that a healthy heart hit with blunt force at a selected time can launch into an abnormal and potentially deadly rhythm.
Bills and NFL fans have rallied around Hamlin since his injury, raising tens of millions of dollars for a charitable donation and toy drive he founded and arriving outside the hospital to specific their support, in accordance with NBC affiliate WLWT of Cincinnati.
The NFL said Hamlin will receive his full $825,000 for 2022 despite landing on the injured reserve list.