Damar Hamlin watches with shock from the hospital as the Bills play their way to No. 2 seed I The Rush
The final day of regular season play in the NFL set the playoff picture and produced plenty of shockers, like the Bills’ incredible feat that surprised Damar Hamlin watching from his hospital bed, the Packers being bounced from the postseason with a home loss to the Lions, the Cowboys suffering a crushing defeat by the Commanders and Jalen Hurts returning to the Eagles, helping to secure Philadelphia’s No.1 overall seed in the NFC. Plus, J.J. Watt had an emotional sendoff in his final NFL game and Love Smith coached his last game with the Texans as Houston’s surprising win handed the Bears the No.1 overall pick in the 2023 Draft.
- --this afternoon as Folk puts his foot into the ball. It's going to be short, fielded at the 4 by Hines. Coming straight up the middle to the 20. Cuts it back at the 25. He's got an alley down the right sideline! To the 40, 50! Down to the 40, 35, 30, 20, 15, 10, 5!
Touchdown, Nyheim Hines! 96 yards! Buffalo on the board with the first play from scrimmage!
MINTY BETS: We're going to get to the playoff picture in a minute, but first we've got to talk about Damar Hamlin and the Buffalo Bills. Less than a week after suffering cardiac arrest on the football field, Hamlin and his parents watched the Bills host the Patriots from his hospital room. And man did his team put on a show with not one, but two Nyheim Hines kick return touchdowns.
Perhaps there was some magic in the air. Because Hamlin wears jersey number 3. And as the Bills social team pointed out, the last time Buffalo logged a kick return for a touchdown was 3 years and 3 months ago.
Hamlin is on the road to recovery, and the Patriots are on the road to offseason vacations after losing to the Bills. With the win, Buffalo secured the two seed and will host the Dolphins on wildcard weekend. Here's a look at the playoff picture and some of the wild ways we got to this point in week 18.
Jalen Hurts returned from injury, giving the Eagles a cure to their losing streak and locking up the number-one seed in the NFC.
JALEN HURTS: That [BLEEP] come through Philly now. Let's get it. Fly, Eagles, fly.
MINTY BETS: Elsewhere in the NFC East, the Cowboys got crushed by the Commanders. And Dallas's reward will be a trip to Tampa to take on Tom Brady's Buccaneers. The Bucs are the fourth team in NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record, and this is Brady's first losing season of his NFL career.
The Packers were beat at Lambeau by the Detroit Lions, which bounced Green Bay from the postseason and thus punched the Seahawks' ticket to take on Brock Purdy's 49ers in the wildcard round.
- We have a playoff game this weekend.
MINTY BETS: JJ Watt was in San Francisco on Sunday for the final game of his NFL career. The prolific defensive end was not only honored by his brothers TJ and Derek, but he also got a standing ovation from the 49ers crowd as the Niners beat JJ's Cardinals.
BROCK PURDY: It was an honor, man.
JJ WATT: I appreciate it.
BROCK PURDY: It was an honor.
MINTY BETS: JJ Watt is so good that Brock Purdy was honored to get sacked by him twice. With career stats like these, we'll see you in Canton in a few years, JJ.
- See you soon.
MINTY BETS: The future of the NFL is in good hands, though, probably. Check out these Bears fans going nuts at Soldier Field.
Yeah, those Bears fans were celebrating the Texans beating the Colts, which gifted Chicago the number-one seed in the 2023 NFL draft. How angry are Texans fans that they couldn't even win at tanking?
MINTY BETS: A late touchdown and 2-point conversion? Somebody did not understand the assignment.