ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Somehow the Bills were able to navigate one of the toughest, most emotionally draining weeks in NFL history and walk away with a win. The Bills end the regular season with a 35-23 win over New England to finish with a 13-3 record and the number 2 overall seed in the AFC. Here are 4 observations based on Damar Hamlin in-game tweets:


The stadium almost melted down when Nyheim Hines returned the opening kickoff 96-yards for a touchdown. That spark set the tone for the rest of the game. It was the team’s first kickoff return for a touchdown in “3” years and “3” months. Hines followed it up with a 101-yard touchdown return. After both plays, Hamlin tweeted “FREE HINES.” He became the first player in team history with two kickoff return TDs in the same game.


The Bills offense has struggled to get Stefon Diggs the ball over the last few weeks but they made it a conscious effort to get him the ball early and often. Diggs was targeted 10 times, led the team with seven receptions for 104 yards and his first touchdown since December 1 in New England. It’s the first time he’s gone for over 100 yards since November 13 against the Vikings.


The Bills linebackers were all over the field and Damar shouted them out individually during the game. The Bills defense had “3” interceptions on Sunday. Late in the game, Matt Milano intercepted a Mac Jones in the endzone that ended the Patriots hopes of a comeback. Milano also had eight tackles and two pass defenses. Tremaine Edmunds’ first interception of the season came late in the fourth quarter and was the final nail in the Patriots season. Edmunds had seven tackles, a quarterback hit, and three pass defenses.  


Dawson Knox found the endzone for a fourth straight game. Following his second quarter touchdown he flashed a heart symbol to the TV cameras and Damar tweeted to his teammate “I love you too.”

Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more of his work here.