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The Way I See It... From the Desk of Ed Kilgore Archives for 2023-01

Bengals Bash Bills 27-10

Everything lined up perfectly for the Bills Divisional playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals at High Mark Stadium.

 

Damar Hamlin was in the house, and the crowd of over 70,000 roared when he waved.  Then it started snowing with no wind to speak of.  Where else would you rather be?

 

Little did most of us around here realize, this was a bad time to play the Bengals, who were also impacted by Hamlin’s on the field fight for his life 3 weeks ago in Cincinnati.  While Bengals players and coaches were all in on cancelling the game, the NFL’s reshuffling of the playoff format seemed to heavily favor the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

 

Then to top off the disrespect, oddsmakers installed the Bills as 4 point favorites, and the line had moved to 6 by kickoff time.  So the defending AFC Champs and near Super Bowl winners were almost a touchdown underdog?

 

It was fools’ gold.

 

The Bengals were missing 3 starting offensive linemen, and the conventional wisdom was that even without Von Miler, the Bills at home could put some pressure on Joe Burrow while handling the Bengals sputtering rushing game.

 

If this was a boxing match it would have been stopped.  The Bengals dominated every aspect of the game from start to finish in a 27-10 win that crushed the Bills Super Bowl aspirations.  Again.

 

Burrow was great.  Easily the best performance by a Bills opposing qb all year, including Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.  Burrow’s stats weren’t gaudy, but impressive under the conditions.  He passed for 242 yards and 2 TD’s with no turnovers, and the Bengals rushed for another 172 to outgain the Bills 412 to 325.

 

This one wasn’t on Josh Allen, who will remain in the discussion of top NFL qb’s, but anybody thinking Burrow isn’t in that category with Allen and Mahomes just needs to look at the film.  Burrow even outrushed Allen 31-26, as the Bengals D shut down the Bills running game.  Allen was hit often, as he wound up with 265 yards, one rushing TD and one interception that came in the final minutes.

 

It’s just mind blowing how dominant the Bengals were in every aspect of this game.  Their banged up O-line manhandled the Bills front 4, and the Bengals D line dominated the Bills up front.  No doubt this makes a few Bills bashers in the national media (no need to name them, you know who they are) extremely happy to be right.  The Bills were overrated.  Good, but not championship caliber.

 

This is a devastating loss for the Bills, who have fallen a game short of the AFC title game 2 years in a row after reaching it 3 years ago. GM Brandon Beane, applauded for building a talented roster that included some cagey draft moves to land Allen and LB Tremaine Edmunds,  faces some heat.  Ditto for HC Sean McDermott, who was badly outcoached by the Bengals’ Zac Taylor in this one.

 

Although Stefon Diggs bolted out of the lockerroom after the game, McDermott said it wasn’t something he was concerned about.  Allen was just the opposite, lingering at his locker much longer than usual.

 

Beane now faces a huge challenge.  He has a franchise qb to build around, and Allen gave it all he had in this one.  But he needs help.  The Bills face some large salary cap hurdles now, which means some familiar names might have to go.

 

Right now it’s difficult to think about “next year”, but the QB and other key pieces are here, so no reason to believe the Bills won’t be a strong contender next season.  But for now, the pecking order has changed.  It’s Cincy-KC or the other way, and who knows what the ambitious Dolphins might do to push the Bills in the division?

 

Still, this season can’t be, and shouldn’t be, defined by one game, however disappointing.

 

The Bills became a national favorite after going through a gauntlet of events.

 

The Tops shootings.  The snow storms that changed the Bills schedule. And leading the way, the stunning collapse of Hamlin 3 weeks ago in Cincinnati, where an entire nation watched players and fans come together. It’s a miracle Hamlin’s life was spared, and his eventual full recovery is heart warming.  This was a special season, even though it ended so unexpectedly.

 

As Marv Levy put it, quoting Sir Andrew Barton, “Fight on my men! I am hurt, but I am not slain.  I’ll lay me down(e) and bleed awhile, and then I’ll rise and fight again.”

 

EdK

ekilgore120@gmail.com

 

        

Sponsored by... Team at the West Herr Automotive Group - Welcome to West Herr New York!

       

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Bills Face Confident Bengals

For a team that is a 5 ½ point underdog, the Cincinnati Bengals are almost strutting into Highmark Stadium for Sunday’s Divisional playoff game against the Bills.  To say they’re confident is an understatement.

 

Certainly the fact they’re defending AFC Champions and almost a Super Bowl winner is part of it, and so is the fact they’ve won their last 9 games.

 

Part of this is perception.

 

The Bengals were flying in the 1st quarter of the Monday Night game almost 3 weeks ago now that was shockingly halted and then cancelled due to Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffering cardiac arrest after tackling Bengals receiver Tee Higgins.  His heart stopped on the field, but the medical response and recovery have been a national feel good story. A coming together story that no doubt will continue before the game Sunday as Bills fans and Bengals fans exchange greetings.

 

That will disappear once the game is underway, but the bond between Bengals and Bills fans is unique in the NFL. Hamlin is doing great, and Higgins plans to meet with him before the game if it can be arranged. Higgins was shaken by the reaction of some over zealous fans who blamed him for the Hamlin injury on social media, but it was a play that happens several times a game with no problem.

 

Back to the Bengals confidence.

 

In the Monday Night game, the Bengals took the opening kickoff and marched to a quick TD.  The Bills then answered with a drive that stalled for a field goal, and the Bengals were driving again near midfield when the Hamlin collapse stopped the game.

 

Some Cincinnati media people say the Bengals, among themselves, feel they learned a lot about the Bills in that brief meeting.  Yep, leading 7-3 with less than a quarter played and they’ve learned something?

 

Ridiculous if true.

 

The Bills, who’ve won 8 straight games, trailed by 6 or more points in the second quarter of 5 games this season.

 

They won all 5.

 

Maybe a bigger reason for this confidence; running back Joe Mixon said more than once this week that the AFC path to the Super Bowl goes through the Bengals, who are the ‘big dog’ of the AFC.  The Bills and Chiefs might beg to differ.  But why not be confident? The Bengals have Joe Burrow. 

 

They seem to forget that while the Bills struggled in their Wild Card game against the injury-riddled Dolphins, the Bengals were a fumbled goal line dive away from losing to the Jackson-less Ravens.

 

And then there’s Josh Allen, and the growing perception that he’s becoming a turnover machine.  Many national media types, and even some Bills fans, are buying into that narrative after the 3 turnover game against Miami.  Yet even with the turnovers, including a sack/fumble that turned into a TD, the Bills gained over 420 yards and scored 34 points.

 

Burrow is considered by some to be Allen’s equal or better, but I’m not buying it. Patrick Mahomes is hard to argue against so far, but the rap on Allen is more perception than reality in my view.

 

Burrow and Allen have both thrown 35 touchdowns.  Burrow has 12 int’s while Allen has 14.  Burrow has lost 3 fumbles and Allen 5.  That’s a difference of four turnovers in 17 games, and even at that, the Bills have a plus point differential of 203 to the Bengals 120, although the Bengals did play a tougher schedule.

 

Allen is by far the better runner, averaging 6.1 yards per carry for 762 yards and 7 touchdowns, to Burrow’s 3.4 average and 267 yards and 5 TD’s.

 

The 2 have very different styles.  Burrow is much more protective of the football and will succumb to a sack much more quickly than Allen, who loves to extend plays if he can.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s who he is. Burrow also gets the ball out much more quickly, and despite having some great receivers like Ja’Marr Chase, Higgins and Tyler Boyd, he doesn’t try to hit them deep nearly as much as Allen does.  But.  They all can run after the catch, so the Bills tackling must be solid.

 

Going into the playoffs, we all thought the Bills offensive line was better than the Bengals’ O-line, even when they were healthy.  Now the Bengals have 3 starting linemen including both tackles, who are questionable.  However, the Bills allowed Allen to get sacked 7 times against the Dolphins, who were short handed.

 

That unit will have to be better, and getting Devin Singletary and James Cook some running room is also a must, as the Bills run game is simply better than Cincy’s, even taking Allen out of the equation.

 

Defensively, the Bills are as healthy as they’ve been all year, although they obviously miss Von Miller right now most of all.  Games like this were why the Bills gave him a 6-year, $120m contract. But Miller is still helping the Bills down linemen, and Greg Rousseau outside and Ed Oliver inside need to have disruptive games.  I’m also hoping rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam will get the start even should Dane Jackson be able to play.  Elam has great ball skills and can be a difference maker.

 

With linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds ability to cover receivers as well as run support, the Bills should be in good shape there.

 

It’ll be interesting to see how the Bills attack the Bengals D, which is not without talent.  Allen will have Isaiah McKenzie available along with Cole Beasley and rookie Khalil Shakir in the slot, but how many will get targeted?  Will Allen use his running backs a bit more in the passing game, including Nyheim Hines?  Let’s see Hines get the ball in some open space.

 

Bills OC Ken Dorsey must focus on the task at hand even though he’s a contender for the HC job at Carolina, but I don’t see that as an issue.  He won’t try to water down Allen’s game, nor should he.  Allen must be himself, and that’s usually more than good enough.

 

He’s not perfect, but who is?  Give me Allen all day long.

 

Bills win 33-24.

 

EdK

ekilgore120@gmail.com

 

        

Sponsored by... Team at the West Herr Automotive Group - Welcome to West Herr New York!

       

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Bills Survive Dolphins 34-31

Because I’ve been around sports for a LONG time, there’s one thing I’ve learned.  The biggest upsets occur when one team is considered a lock and the other is given NO chance by anybody.

 

Such was the case before the Bills finally survived a valiant effort from the injury-riddled Miami Dolphins at Highmark Stadium, winning 34-31 in their Wild Card matchup in a surprisingly sloppy performance. The Bills, now 14-3, will obviously have to play MUCH better next weekend when they host the streaking Cincinnati Bengals.

 

I for one believe the Bills will do just that.

 

This game looked like a mismatch on paper, but they don’t….you know.

The Bills were 14 point favorites by kickoff time on a chilly but sunny January afternoon in Orchard Park.  The way it started made it seem they weren’t giving enough points.

 

With Josh Allen sharp, the Bills jumped to a 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter and at one point had outgained the Dolphins in yardage 172-9.

Dolphins rookie qb Skylar Thompson looked overwhelmed, and star receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle had the dropsies. Thompson was forced in there  with Tua Tagovailoa out, and backup Teddy Bridgewater dressed but is dealing with a dislocated pinky finger on his throwing hand. Despite a slew of Dolphins injuries, including running back Raheem Mostert, coach Mike McDaniel had his team believing they could and would shock the world.

 

They almost did.

 

After throwing 2 interceptions and losing the ball on a strip sack leading to an easy touchdown, Allen’s MVP candidacy may have expired.  His wide open and aggressive style can backfire at times, but the Bills allow it because his mental toughness and drive overshadow the occasional miscues. Let me add here, that Allen’s arm now looks fully healthy, and a couple of his downfield efforts narrowly missed connecting.

 

So it was again.  With Allen, you’re never out of the game. Sometimes he makes it more interesting than we’d like.

 

After the fast 17-0 start, the Dolphins were down only 20-17 at the half. After a quick 3 and out, the Bills had the ball.  Oh oh. Deep in their own territory, Allen was strip sacked by Eric Rowe at the Bills 17, and eventually Zach Sieler recovered in the end zone for a gift TD that gave the underdog Fins a stunning 24-20 lead.

 

This was getting real about now.

 

But Allen kept his poise, and drove the Bills to a pair of TD’s in the 3rd quarter with a 6 yard toss to Cole Beasley and later a 23 yard strike to Gabe Davis, who made one of those toe tapping specials in the end zone to make it 34-24.  Great to see Davis reemerge as a threat. He had 6 catches for 113 yards and the TD, with Stefon Diggs adding 7 catches for 114 yards.

 

Allen, despite the 3 turnovers, finished with a career playoff high of 354 yards (23-39), 3 TD’s and 2 int’s.  He was also sacked 7 times as the Dolphins variety of blitz packages did cause some disruption.  The Bills were without Isaiah McKenzie, giving Beasly a chance, and rookie Khalil Shakir added 3 catches for 51 yards. Shakir made some clutch grabs in traffic as the Bills coaches show more and more faith in him.

 

The Dolphins did keep Allen from a big rushing day – 4 carries for 20 yards – but Devin Singletary had 48 yards on 10 carries and James Cook added 39 on 12 trips.  Singletary actually sealed the game with a 3rd and 7 run late in the 4th quarter, where he carried tacklers the last 5 yards to gain the first down and effectively end the game.

 

Defensively, the Bills clamped down on the Dolphins running game, in part because Raheem Mostert was out, allowing just 42 yards on 21 carries.  That’s just 2 yards per carry.  Thompson completed only 18-45 for 220 yards and was sacked 4 times.  The rookie did show a lot of mobility and a strong arm, and Hill was held to 69 yards and Waddle 44.

Matt Milano celebrated being named All-Pro with a couple sacks and 2 tackles for loss, while Tremaine Edmunds made plays all over the field.

 

One highlight of the game, as fans continue to honor Damar Hamlin with their #3’s being worn in different ways, was an interception by Dean Marlowe, who is playing in Hamlin’s safety spot.  Hamlin actually made a trip to visit the Bills at practice earlier in the week.

 

So why was this game so close?  Should we just assume the Bills aren’t as good as we thought?

 

No.

 

The Bills won’t use this as an excuse, but you just can’t convince me the emotional ups and downs of the past few weeks didn’t play a part.  The early 17-0 lead probably didn’t help.

 

But with no significant injuries we’re aware of, the Bills are exactly where they want to be.  The defending AFC Champion and almost Super Bowl winning Cincinnati Bengals are right here.  They’ve gone from cocky to just plain arrogant, with QB Joe Burrow stating right out the Bengals are a Super Bowl legacy team.

 

We’ve been waiting all year for the Bills to put an entire game together, and next weekend will be the opportunity to continue the dream.

 

Can’t wait.

 

EdK

ekilgore120@gmail.com

 

        

Sponsored by... Team at the West Herr Automotive Group - Welcome to West Herr New York!

       

#gobills #bigweck #buffalo #westherr

Bills Respect Tua-less Dolphins

After all the Bills have been through this season, just about every NFL expert has already moved the Bills into the Divisional Round of the playoffs even before they take the field against the Miami Dolphins at Highmark Stadium Sunday.

 

How hard can it be, right? The Bills were already 10 point favorites in their Wildcard playoff game, and that line jumped to 13 ½ when we learned Tua Tagovailoa would not play.  This is actually a relief, because most of us cringe at the thought of Tagovailoa going down with another concussion.

 

Rookie Skyler Thompson, a 7th round draft pick, will start at qb with backup Teddy Bridgewater available despite a dislocated pinky finger on his throwing hand.  Thompson is a good athlete with a strong arm, but this is a tough spot for him against a Bills defense that is getting healthier each week.

 

It’ll be awhile before NFL players everywhere will take injuries for granted.  Only now that Damar Hamlin is home and expected to fully recover from his cardiac arrest in Cincinnati just under 2 weeks ago can the Bills focus on the task at hand.  Number 3 will still be a part of the Bills mindset Sunday.

 

The Bengals have a similar must focus situation, as they are 9 ½ point favorites over the Ravens, a jump of 3 ½ points when we learned Lamar Jackson won’t play.  Yes, there’s a lot of speculation out there about Jackson not trying very hard as he looks for a huge payday, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.  He has a knee injury that just isn’t getting better quickly enough.

 

Already the rumors are flying that Tom Brady might be lured a bit further south in Florida after this season, as the Dolphins face a lot of important decisions going forward. 

 

So if the Bills and Bengals both win as expected, it sets up a monumental meeting in Orchard Park in the Divisional Playoff round.  The Bills have won 7 straight  and the Bengals are now on an 8 game winning streak. The Bengals, interestingly, seem to be the media darling right now even though the Bills played a tougher schedule and have a NFL second best 169 point differential. The Chiefs, as we all know, sit out this weekend with a bye, but should KC and the Bills keep winning, the AFC Championship game will be held in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium Sunday January 29th at 6:30pm.  And yes, it’s a dome.

 

But a lot will happen before then.

 

Those of us who’ve been around awhile know that virtually anything is possible in the NFL.  Pro golfers miss 2 foot putts every now and then.

 

While Tagovailoa is easily the most worrisome injury for the Dolphins, who finished a topsy-turvey 9-8 season to squeak into the playoffs, the Fins have others. However, speedsters Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle can break a long one at any time if Skyler has time to throw.

 

So how will the Bills approach this?

 

The obvious expectation is that they won’t use designated runs for Josh Allen unless absolutely necessary.  But with low 30s and some sunshine expected, Allen will throw it plenty and mix in James Cook and Devin Singletary to keep it honest.

 

The steadiness of Allen is underappreciated imo.  Despite a ton of injuries and other distractions, Allen’s season numbers are almost identical to a year ago.  Does he try too hard at times?  Well, yeh. That’s who he is. One number that isn’t good is 29 interceptions over the past 2 seasons, the most in the NFL.  But in the playoffs, he’s Superman.  He’s thrown 14 TD passes with exactly ONE interception, which is an all time NFL record for TD to INT ratio. He’s still dealing with elbow and ankle injuries, but he’s one tough dude.

 

The bigger the stage, the better he is, and the Bills lofty goals will ultimately be decided by his play. Stefon Diggs will still be his #1 go to guy, and #2 Gabe Davis must be more consistant. Tight end Dawson Knox will also be more of a focal point.

 

Slot receiver Isaiah McKenzie is questionable with a hamstring, but expect Cole Beasley to get some targets. Jamison Crowder is now activated but won’t play against the Dolphins.

 

Defensively the Bills are getting healthy.  Von Miller won’t be back, but All Pro safety Micah Hyde is also active and practicing and might be out there if the Bills keep winning.

 

The Bills veteran leadership is all over the younger players about the importance of this game. The Dolphins have played the Bills tough twice and that could well be the case again, and the dreams die quickly with a stumble here.

 

It won’t happen.

 

Bills win it 31-13.

 

EdK

ekilgore120@gmail.com

 

        

Sponsored by... Team at the West Herr Automotive Group - Welcome to West Herr New York!

       

#gobills #bigweck #buffalo #westherr

Bills Channel Emotions in 35-23 Win Over Pats

Most of us thought going into this final game of the regular season with playoff positioning at stake, the emotional edge for the Bills over the Patriots would be substantial. Seeing fallen teammate Damar Hamlin’s incredible recovery from a life-threatening cardiac arrest on the field just a week ago, would have a profoundly positive effect.

 

Yes, and no.

It’s just not that simple.

 

 

The Bills eventually outlasted a game Patriots team 35-23 to gain the 2 seed, meaning the Bills will host the Dolphins next weekend. Right now Tua Tagovailoa is still out with another concussion protocol, but it’s obviously a break for the Bills if he can’t play.

 

The no game call for the Monday Night Bills/Bengals game in Cincinnati  forced the NFL into a backup plan that made everybody unhappy.  That is, except the Kansas City Chiefs, who are now the 1 seed with a 14-3 record, despite the fact they lost to both the Bills and Bengals.The Chiefs get a bye while the Bills host the Dolphins and the Bengals are home to the Ravens in a rematch of Sunday’s game.  However, should the Bills and Chiefs both reach the AFC title game, it was determined the game would be played at a neutral site.  No Arrowhead Stadium this time.

 

Although media and fans are now all but giving Patrick Mahomes the MVP crown for leading the Chiefs to the 1 seed, it’s impossible to ignore what Josh Allen and Joe Burrow have been doing as well.

 

The Bengals have now won 8 straight games, and the Bills 7 in a row.

 

Allen’s running game was stifled by the Patriots, as coach Bill Belichick always has a plan and it almost worked. Allen averaged under 2 yards a carry for the first time all year, but a couple huge 2nd half touchdown bombs were the difference.  He wound up with 254 yards passing, 3 TD’s and one Red Zone interception that was the result of being hit while throwing in the 2nd quarter.

 

Two typical Allen plays turned the game. Late 3 qtr in a tight 21-17 game, Allen was flushed out of the pocket and rolled right. He motioned to receiver John Smoke Brown and fired a beautiful on the run 42 yard strike that Brown caught fully extended at the goal line for a TD.

 

But the biggest play came with the Bills holding a precarious 28-23 lead midway through the 4th quarter, facing a 3rd and 10 near midfield. Whether it was Allen noticing Stefon Diggs in single coverage or a play from OC Ken Dorsey, Allen went for the bundle.  He threw it 60 yards in the air and Diggs never broke stride for a 49 yard TD that put the game out of reach.  Big players make big plays.

 

 

 

The X factor no one could have predicted, except perhaps Bills GM Brandon Beane, was the contribution from backup running back and kick/punt returner Nyheim Hines.  Beane knew the Colts desperately needed a running back, so he shipped Zac Moss to Indy and brought Hines to Buffalo at the November 1st trading deadline. A less noticed move by Beane has also paid off in a big way.

 

The Bills reaquired safety Dean Marlowe from the Falcons for a 7th round draft pick, and with Hamlin on IR, Marlowe was the starter against the Patriots and had 4 tackles.

 

With the sold out crowd of over 70,000 already in a hyper frenzy following a tearful tribute to Hamlin before the game, Hines took the opening kickoff back 96 yards for a touchdown.  The NFL actually records the speed of players, and Hines hit a personal best 21.25 mph on that return.

 

Seriously, does that really happen except in a movie?

 

Bills players couldn’t believe it, and after the game several players, including Allen, pointed upwards and said there’s a higher power involved.  Save your arguments.  I’m just telling you what Allen said.

 

Even more mystifying, just :13 seconds (a familiar number) after the Patriots took a 17-14 lead in the 3rd quarter, Hines did it AGAIN.

This time, he burst through a hole and raced 101 yards to a TD to give the Bills a 21-17 lead they never relinquished.

 

The Bills won by making plays, but also by overcoming some mistakes.

By far the biggest gaffe came from special teamer Taiwan Jones, who was  inexplicably touched by a live Bills punt, giving the Patriots the ball around the Bills 10.

 

In the end though, the Bills defense rose to the occasion.

 

On 3 long TD drives, Pats qb Mac Jones was a perfect  17-17 passing. But the Bills D kept putting on the heat, led by DE Greg Rousseau, and wound up with 3 interceptions, including Dre White’s first of the season. This was White’s best game since returning from knee surgery.

Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds also had int’s.

 

Will the Bills crazy season have a storybook ending?

 

The Damar Hamlin inspiration from a near death experience? The snowed out home game moved to Detroit? The long list of injuries including all Pro’s Von Miller and Micah Hyde?

 

What looked like a numbing tragedy caught the attention of the entire nation and even beyond, in large part because the outpouring of love and support for Hamlin was unprecedented.  Network anchors wearing 3’s on their lapels, and on and on.  Bills and Bengals fans hugging and praying together, while players did likewise.

 

 The win over the Patriots was Chapter 1 toward the eventual stated goal.  Chapter 2 comes this weekend against the Dolphins (Sunday, 1pm at Highmark Stadium).

 

Can’t wait.

EdK

ekilgore120@gmail.com

 

        

Sponsored by... Team at the West Herr Automotive Group - Welcome to West Herr New York!

       

#gobills #bigweck #buffalo #westherr

Bills Refocus on Patriots

Words can’t express the joy and sense of relief most all of us feel with news that Damar Hamlin is making what doctors call “A remarkable recovery” from Monday Night’s shocking brush with death in Cincinnati.

 

The Bills safety is now awake, although still in critical condition, as he recovers from a cardiac arrest event early in the Bills/Bengals game at Paycor Stadium.  Doctors at UC Medical Center say Hamlin woke up last night, and asked them in writing if the Bills had won the game.  One doctor was quoted as saying “you won the game of life”.

 

He still has a lot of healing to do, but the worst fears appear to be behind us moving forward.

 

No doubt speculation about what caused Hamlin’s cardiac arrest will continue as he recovers, but in no way in my opinion should anybody try to put the blame on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, whose helmet hit Hamlin in the chest as Hamlin made the tackle.  This type of hit happens in almost every game, but this time, the hit was nearly fatal.

 

The NFL goes through an hour long drill before each and every game to ensure everybody knows how to coordinate efforts should the unthinkable happen, and the preparation no doubt saved Hamlin’s life.

 

Hopefully more universities and high schools will realize the importance of being prepared for such an event, even though it happens so rarely.

 

A shout out to Bills coach Sean McDermott, who told Bengals coach Zac Taylor “I need to be with my player, not coaching a football game”, as CPR was being administered to a motionless Hamlin.  McDermott didn’t wait for permission from the NFL or anybody else, but pulled his team off the field and the Bengals did the same.

 

Hamlin’s recovery clearly lifts a dark cloud hanging over the Bills nation as they continue practicing for Sunday’s home game against the New England Patriots.  It’s a 1 o’clock kickoff at Highmark Stadium, and in keeping with the positive news, the forecast is for low 30’s and some sunshine.

 

Wisely in my view, the NFL has already decided the Bills-Bengals game will not be resumed, as the Bengals had a 7-3 lead in the first quarter when Hamlin collapsed.

 

Hamlin’s improvement makes the NFL’s job both easier, yet more complicated.

 

With both the Bills and Bengals playing one game less than everybody else, winning percentages will be a big part of determining seedings in the AFC, and the no contest has a negative effect for both the Bills and Bengals.  The Chiefs can now take the top seed with a win over the Raiders Saturday, and this is despite the fact both the Bills and Bengals have beaten the Chiefs this season.

 

Without going into the many scenarios being discussed, the NFL will try to compromise for some degree of fairness, which means somebody will still be unhappy. What will eventually happen in some way, is even if the Chiefs are AFC top seed, they will have to give up either a home game or a bye week to make it more fair for the 2 seed, which will be Buffalo if they don’t stumble against a Patriots team fighting for a playoff spot.

 

Hamlin’s positive recovery certainly improves the Bills’ players state of mind.  The crowd, which loves the Bills unconditionally as it is, will be amped to a new level as the Bills take the field.  There’s even the chance the Bills could know by then that Hamlin will be watching the game on TV as he recovers in Cincinnati.

 

Buffalo, we need a break.  We deserve a break.

 

We’ve dealt with the horrible Tops shootings, a couple crippling snowstorms that resulted in several deaths, and being forced to move a Bills home game to Detroit after 7 feet of snow piled up in Orchard Park.

 

Kind of a shame that it takes adversity to bring out the best, and worst, in people, but the good is winning out here.  Bills Mafia and fans have raised nearly $7 million for Hamlin’s kids charity, with donors including many national celebrities and nearly all NFL owners and many players.

 

Barring the Chiefs being upset by the Raiders Saturday, the Bills won’t be able to reach their goal as the top seed earning a bye week and home field throughout the playoffs.

 

Honestly, I don’t think it matters.  They’ve won 2 of the last 3 at Arrowhead Stadium and came within 13 seconds of making it 3 in a row.  The Bills are already a close team that has bonded even more as the result of adversity this season.  With few exceptions, they’re healthy.  They’ll be happy to play anybody in a parking lot, with #3 Damar Hamlin providing even more inspiration.

 

This is a crazy season that someday might make a good book or movie.

 

We just don’t the ending just yet, but I think the Bills don’t slip up and beat the Patriots 26-14.

 

EdK

ekilgore120@gmail.com

 

        

Sponsored by... Team at the West Herr Automotive Group - Welcome to West Herr New York!

       

#gobills #bigweck #buffalo #westherr

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