ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — No one’s reaction to the very first play of the Buffalo Bills‘ game against the New England Patriots was better than Damar Hamlin’s.
“OMFG,” the safety tweeted from the University of Cincinnati Health Center as he watched the game.
— 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐢𝐧 (@HamlinIsland) January 8, 2023
Immediately after Hamlin was honored before the game, running back Nyheim Hines took the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to give the Bills an early 7-0 lead. Hines caught the kickoff and began running straight ahead, zagging past Patriots defenders to get to the right sideline. Then, Hines dashed up the sideline and went untouched into the end zone. Hines’ max speed of 21.25 mph on the kick return touchdown was a career high as a ball carrier.
He celebrated by dropping the ball with his hands outstretched and jumping into the stands.
It was the Bills’ first kickoff return touchdown since 2019. It was also the first time under Bill Belichick (since 2000) that the Patriots have allowed a kick return touchdown on the opening kickoff.
📺: @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/9uXnx91reb
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 8, 2023