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The Buffalo Bills won one for Damar Hamlin. The Bills safety, who almost died after going into cardiac arrest during the team’s now-canceled Week 17 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, was in the thoughts of his teammates as they battled the New England Patriots in the teams’ final game of the 2022 regular season. The Week 18 game started in miraculous fashion, with Buffalo’s Nyheim Hines returning the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. After the game, Bills quarterback Josh Allen choked up while talking about the “spiritual” aspect of that play.

Josh Allen says Nyheim Hines return shows ‘God’s real’

In a moment that was so incredible and touching that it would make a Hollywood screenwriter blush, Nyheim Hines took the ball on the Buffalo Bills’ first play back after the near-tragic Damar Hamlin situation and took it to the house.

The Bills sideline couldn’t believe it. The Orchard Park crowd was delirious. And even Hamlin himself was shocked, tweeting “OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!” from his hospital bed.

Hines’ return was an unbelievable moment that touched many people, including Bills QB Josh Allen. After the Week 18 game, the superstar signal-caller choked up while talking about the moment in his post-game press conference.

“I can’t remember a play that touched me like that — I don’t think — in my life,” Allen told reporters. “It was just spiritual. I was going around and — I was just going around to my teammates saying, ‘God’s real.’ You can’t draw that one up, write that one up any better.”

Allen got even more emotional while sharing that Bills Director of Communications Kevin Kearns just told him that the franchise’s last kickoff return was three years and three months ago, which is yet another divine connection to Hamlin and his No. 3 jersey.

The Bills now have game No. 3 vs. the Dolphins in the Wild Card Round 

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills, Damar Hamlin, Week 18
Josh Allen wearing a ‘Love for Damar’ Hamlin t-shirt ahead of Week 18 | Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

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By beating the Patriots 35-23 in Week 18, Josh Allen and company knocked (one of) their AFC East rivals out of the playoffs. In the Pats’ place is another AFC East quad, the Miami Dolphins.

Of course, in another Damar Hamlin connection, this will be game No. 3 between the Bills and Dolphins on the season, who played back in Week… you guessed it: Week 3.

The teams played in 90-plus-degree heat down in Miami, and the Bills lost 21-19. Twelve weeks later, the Dolphins traveled north to Western New York and lost a snowball-filled game 32-29.

Now the teams will complete their 2022-23 trilogy, with the winner moving on to the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

In addition to the Bills missing Damar Hamlin, there is another scary health-related situation happening on the Dolphins’ side as well. After (seemingly) suffering three concussions this season, the short- and long-term status of Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa is currently unknown.

Tagovailoa had a career year in 2022. But he hasn’t played since Week 16, and there is no indication whether or not he’ll be cleared to play against Josh Allen and the Bills in the Wild Card Round.

The Bills will be favorites at home either way. However, with Teddy Bridgewater or seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson under center, Buffalo vs. Miami may be the biggest spread of Wild Card Weekend.