The Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game on Monday was called off in the first quarter after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed with 5:58 remaining. According to the NFL, Hamlin is in critical condition.
The Bills announced Hamlin’s cardiac arrest early Tuesday morning. On the field, his heartbeat was restored before he was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for additional testing and treatment. According to the Bills, Hamlin is currently sedated and in critical condition.
After a 13-yard gain, Hamlin, a second-year player from Pittsburgh, tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin stood up but immediately collapsed to the ground.
An ambulance was brought onto the field, and ESPN’s Lisa Salters reported that medical personnel had been “working on him” for more than nine minutes. According to play-by-play announcer Joe Buck, Hamlin was given CPR and taken to the hospital on a stretcher. He was given oxygen before being loaded into the ambulance.
The NFL Players Association supported the decision to reschedule the game.
“Everyone in our community, including the NFLPA, is praying for Damar Hamlin,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “We’ve spoken with Bills and Bengals players, as well as the NFL. The only thing that matters right now is Damar’s health and safety.”
Josh Allen and his teammates are emotional on the sidelines.
The expressions on the faces of both teams’ players told the story. Josh Allen, the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, was visibly shaken, and players from both teams surrounded the ambulance.
Some players were on their knees, while others were sobbing openly.
Both teams left the field after meeting with Bills head coach Sean McDermott and Bengals counterpart Zac Taylor, and referee Shawn Smith announced the game had been temporarily suspended.
Cameras captured the two coaches meeting again in the stadium’s tunnel (and passing a cell phone between them), as players began to emerge from the Bills’ locker room. Bengals captains Joe Burrow, DJ Reader, Ted Karras, and Joe Mixon all made their way to the locker room. The Bills’ equipment staff began packing up the sideline prior to the league’s official announcement. The game was finally called at 10:00 p.m. ET, one hour and five minutes after Hamlin collapsed.
There was no word on whether the game would be resumed.
According to ESPN, the league hoped to provide an update on the player by the end of the night.
The score and the playoff implications
In the first quarter of a game between two teams vying for the top AFC playoff seed, the Bengals led 7-3.
Cincinnati entered at 11-4, one game ahead of Baltimore in the AFC North, while AFC East champion Buffalo was 12-3.
A local favourite
Hamlin, 24, was a Pittsburgh native who attended the University of Pittsburgh from 2016 to 2020. During his final season, he led the Panthers in tackles and passes defended and was named to the All-ACC second team. The Bills drafted him in the sixth round of the 2021 draught, and he played in 14 games as a rookie.