Peel back the thick layer of emotion that has gripped the NFL over the past week, especially in Buffalo, and it’s football on Sunday. The most notable game among them is the Bills and Patriots at Highmark Stadium in Orchard his Park.
It’s been hell for the Bills, who persevered like few NFL teams face adversity after adversity.
The region’s historic snowstorm claimed dozens of lives, disrupted teams’ schedules, and forced them to play their home games at neutral stadiums. In August, the brother of tight end Dawson Knox died suddenly. There was a deadly supermarket shooting that rocked the area.
Then their beloved safer Dumar Hamlin collapsed on the lawn in Cincinnati last Monday. After making a tackle, his heart stopped and medical personnel were forced to save his life with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and he was left in the hospital on life support.
The tragic and horrifying Hamlin incident left the Bills — and many other players on other teams throughout the league — less interested in playing football than they were before the game began.
But the news of Hamlin’s remarkable recovery last week was highlighted by him being taken off a ventilator and able to breathe on his own, and speaking to a teammate via FaceTime on Friday, saying he believed in his teammate’s spirit. I couldn’t help but cheer up.
“I love you guys,” Hamlin told them.
It was, in many ways, as much of a relief as his release to return to football.
Bills quarterback and team leader Josh Allen was asked if he believed the team was physically and emotionally ready to play.
Allen spoke about the emotional message Hamlin’s father Mario gave the team on Wednesday, saying his son wanted them to play.
“He asked us [to play] …and I can’t honor his request to get out there and lunge forward,” Allen said.
Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott said, “His message was that the team needed to get back to focus on the goals they set for themselves.” I owe it to Damar and to his family.”
The game is odd in that the 12-3 Bills have less impact on the outcome of the game than the 8-8 Patriots they must win to qualify for the playoffs.
The Bills have already won their third consecutive AFC East title, but Hamlin’s injury canceled their game in Cincinnati, dwindling their chances of securing a top playoff seed in the AFC, and the Chiefs won the Raiders on Saturday. I was devastated when I defeated the 14-3 to win the top spot.
A victory for the Patriots would secure their 13th playoff spot in 14 seasons. But the Patriots are in trouble. Not only is Buffalo the better team, but Highmark Stadium is emotional.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters this week, “Everyone will have to deal with it individually, as they’ve done in the past.”[We] I think it’s going to be an emotional scene, but in the end you go there to play the best football game. And I think you are. ”
McDermott said Belichick was one of many NFL coaches who reached out to him to offer support after Hamlin was injured, saying, “I appreciate his thoughts and prayers.” rice field.
Since Tom Brady left New England, the Bills are 5-1 against the Patriots, 176-92, with an average score of 29-15. Allen had a 114.2 passer rating and he threw 15 touchdowns and only one interception in those games. 2 TDs and 4 he threw INTs.
As such, it’s likely to be a potentially difficult day on the field for the Patriots and an emotional day for all of the Buffalo area, where a lot has happened in the past few months.
“How do we know what we can overcome?” said McDermott. That’s what you do, this is Western New York and the Buffalo Bills fans, this is what we do.