Payments win for Hamlin and get rid of Patriots from playoffs

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Nyheim Hines ignited an emotionally charged ambiance celebrating injured Payments security Damar Hamlin by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns, and Buffalo clinched the AFC’s second playoff seed with a 35-23 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday.

The loss, coupled with Miami beating the New York Jets, eradicated the Patriots (8-9) from the playoffs for the second time in three years, and simply the fourth time in 23 seasons throughout Invoice Belichick’s teaching tenure. Buffalo will now host their division rival Dolphins within the wild-card spherical subsequent weekend.

With the sport in hand, Payments gamers held up three fingers in honor of Hamlin’s quantity with the gang chanting “Hamlin! Hamlin!”

The Payments (13-3) closed their season by successful their ultimate seven video games and overcame an emotional week through which the group was left devastated in watching Hamlin collapse after going into cardiac arrest and having to be resuscitated on the sector in Cincinnati on Monday evening.

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What adopted was progressive excellent news of Hamlin’s exceptional restoration through which he was not solely capable of breathe on his personal, but in addition managed to deal with his teammates whereas saying “Love you boys” on Friday.

And go away it to receiver Stefon Diggs, who made a degree to go to Hamlin within the College of Cincinnati Medical Middle instantly following the sport, to seal the victory with a 49-yard landing catch from Josh Allen to place Buffalo forward 35-23 with 8:51 remaining.

The sold-out crowd — lots of them carrying No. 3 Hamlin shirts and jerseys, and holding up crimson hearts within the participant’s honor — erupted as one as Allen walked off the sector together with his fingers raised.

On the following kickoff, which went for a touchback, the Payments particular groups gamers all raced into the top zone and motioned to the gang. The followers, as one, stood up and let loose a large roar.

Allen completed 19 of 31 for 254 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

On a day the Payments celebrated No. 3, and with Hamlin watching and live-tweeting from his hospital mattress in Cincinnati, two touchdowns by Hines proved key.

The gang had barely settled into its seats following a pregame ceremony honoring Hamlin when Hines returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a rating.

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His second put the Payments forward for good, coming 13 seconds after Nick Folks hit a 24-yard subject aim to place New England up 17-14 halfway by the third quarter.

Acquired by Buffalo in a commerce with Indianapolis two months in the past, Hines turned the NFL’s eleventh participant to return two kickoffs for scores in a recreation, and first since Seattle’s Leon Washington in 2010.

The Patriots wanted solely a win to clinch a playoff berth, however wound up stumbling in closing the season by shedding 5 of their final seven.

Mac Jones completed 26 of 40 for 243 yards and three touchdowns, together with two to DeVante Parker, and three interceptions — all coming within the second half.

Jones’ ultimate two interceptions got here on consecutive drives within the ultimate six minutes.

Dealing with third-and-19 on the Buffalo 22, Jones’ deep move over the center went off the hand of tight finish Hunter Henry, and was picked off by linebacker Matt Milano.

On New England’s subsequent possession, Jones’ move went off the fingers of Damien Harris, and into the fingers of linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

MILESTONE

Patriots defensive again Devin McCourty had an interception and recovered Devin Singletary’s fumble. The interception was the thirty fifth of McCourty’s 13-year profession, transferring him one behind Ty Regulation and Raymond Clayborn, who’re tied for first on the franchise record.

The 35-year-old McCourty made his 205th begin for New England in what could possibly be his ultimate recreation for the franchise.

INJURIES

Patriots DT DaMarcus Mitchell didn’t return after sustaining a concussion.

UP NEXT

Patriots: Season over.

Payments: Host Miami Dolphins in AFC wild-card recreation.

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