The Buffalo Bills were playing for more than just a win in Week 18 against the New England Patriots, and that was clear from the very first play of the game. Nyheim Hines took the opening kickoff to the house for a massive touchdown that had Bills Mafia going crazy, and when asked about it after the game, head coach Sean McDermott boldly stated he wasn’t surprised. Via CBS Sports, McDermott told reporters that a kick return TD to start the game was actually something he’d envisioned in the days leading up to the game.
"Respectfully I wasn't surprised."
Sean McDermott on the Bills returning the opening kick for a touchdown. pic.twitter.com/flxkFd3Ltj
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) January 8, 2023
“To be honest with you, I thought before, in the days leading up to the game, ‘wouldn’t it be special if we could take that opening kickoff…'” said McDermott. “And then when it happened… Respectfully I wasn’t surprised. Just by the way the week’s gone… Honestly, also not surprised by our guys… They were set on doing that. Just a good moment for everyone.”
While McDermott may not have been surprised, the rest of the football world was. And that includes Damar Hamlin, who expressed his excitement with a series of tweets while watching from the hospital. Hamlin is recovering after collapsing on the field in Week 17 against the Bengals after suffering from cardiac arrest.
Not only did Hines take the opening kickoff to the house, but the Bills’ return specialist also added another kick-return TD to his tally, becoming just the 11th player in NFL history to return two kickoffs for TDs in the same game.
It was truly a special performance from the Buffalo Bills in Week 18, and Sean McDermott couldn’t have drawn up the first play any better if he tried.