Wide Receiver John Brown, who was a pivotal part of quarterback Josh Allen’s early development, last played for the Buffalo Bills in 2020. During Sunday’s regular season finale vs. the New England Patriots, “Smoke” as Brown is known by, had a special moment both on and off the field.
Back in November, Brown was signed to the practice squad after a year and a half away from the team. Sunday was only his third game active with his old squad, but the WR made it count.
Late in the third quarter with the Bills (13-3) holding onto a four-point lead, Allen rolled out of the pocket and motioned for Brown to improvise his route and go deep… something the duo use to do quite often. Allen put the ball up and Brown made a spectacular diving catch that ended in the end zone for six points:
A little bit of touchdown magic. ✨
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 8, 2023
“I just kinda saw him back there and pointed to him and having that rapport I have with Smoke, he saw it and made an unbelievable catch,” Allen told the media during his postgame press conference.
“Unbelievable, so that was a pretty good feeling,” Allen continued. “Obviously, bringing Smoke back and I know he’s been inactive the last few weeks, but getting his shot and making a huge play for us, it was a really pivotal point in the game. You know, we definitely needed that and I just kinda chalked that down to who he is, his drive. Obviously being a smart vet, you know coming back and wanting to be here.”
While the play on the field was certainly memorable, what happened after the touchdown might have been even more special.
After catching his first touchdown since 2020, Brown was shown by cameras on the sideline walking over to Bills’ assistant athletic trainer, Denny Kellington to hand him the ball.
After scoring a TD for the Bills, John Brown handed the ball to Denny Kellington, who administered CPR to Damar Hamlin. pic.twitter.com/2FJeVkwctS
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 8, 2023
Kellington is the one who had administered CPR to Bills safety Damar Hamlin and has been credited as one of the main reasons Hamlin survived and is now recovering.
“I heard about it, ya, I didn’t see it,” McDermott told reporters after the game. “But ya, again, you talk about the people quotient and we’ve got good people. And our players are guys that do things the right way.
“And for that to be on John’s mind, I mean, I don’t know John’s numbers over the last year and a half, just overall in terms of what passes he’s caught and what touchdowns he’s caught, but for him to make that play number one, I mean this is a guy who hasn’t played in a number of weeks and that was a difficult, difficult play to make and he made it. And then to have the wherewithal to go to the sideline 15 seconds later and hand the ball to the trainer says a lot about who he is.”
While Brown has made a lot of big plays in his career overall with the Bills… this is probably a game and a moment he won’t soon forget.