Buffalo Bills thank Cincinnati Bengals for getting them into playoffs

Alex Butler

Jan. 1 (UPI) -- The Buffalo Bills locker room was a party at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday in South Florida, after the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens, clinching a playoff spot for the Bills.

Buffalo is in the postseason for the first time in 18 years.


"It's going to be lit," Bills rookie wide receiver Zay Jones said after the Bills beat the Miami Dolphins 22-16.

"It's going to be lit. Ain't nobody going to sleep," Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin said.

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Bills players had eyes on the scoreboard at Hard Rock Stadium late in their game, watching the Bengals play the Ravens. Players later shuffled into their locker room to watch the game. All eyes were on a flatscreen TV, affixed to their locker room wall. Coaches and athletes stared at the Bengals' biggest play of the game.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton scanned the Ravens defense on a 4th and 12 play from the Ravens' 49-yard-line.

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Bills players shouted at the screen, hoping Dalton would come through. They even called out the defense and shouted suggestions to the Bengals offense.

Dalton took the snap with 53 seconds left in the game and the Bengals facing a 27-24 deficit. He fired a pass down the seam to his right, finding wide receiver Tyler Boyd.

Bills players erupted to see the conversion for a first down, but the play wasn't over.

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The second-year pass catcher secured the football in between defenders and sprinted in for six points.

The visiting locker room turned to bedlam.

Cincinnati shut down Baltimore on the resulting drive and took home the AFC North victory, sending Buffalo to the post season.

"Hey men," Bills captain Kyle Williams said after the win, as he broke it down for the team. "Not us, right? Not us. Not us. Let's take it man. Let's just be done with it. They don't know anything about heart. They don't know anything about work. That's who we are."


"Coach and I talked about this a couple weeks ago. This is a start. This is not a finish. This is a start. Let's stay on it. Let's stay on our standards everyday and lets go make some noise."

After Williams broke it down, the Bills sprayed water bottles everywhere and pumped up the music to bring in the New Year.

Buffalo took off on a flight after leaving the stadium and was greeted in Buffalo by a ton of fans at the airport.

"Dear [Bengals]," the Bills wrote in a tweet after the game.

"After we handled business in Miami, we needed you, and you came through big time. On behalf of this team, the people of the City of Buffalo, and Bills fans around the world, thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!"

"Wings on us. (No really, we're sending wings).

"With love, the Buffalo Bills."

The Bills face the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC Wildcard matchup at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

"Andy Dalton, you heard it here first, I love you man," Micah Hyde said after the game, according to the Bills website. "I love you."


"Oh, he's getting Edible Arrangements. If he wants some Budweiser, he's getting that," Jerry Hughes added. "Whatever he wants, I'm going to be his Secret Santa for the rest of this week."

Bills owner Terry Pegula spoke to reporters in the Bills locker room after the victory.

"You're always are trying to win," Pegula said. "You don't know when you're going to. We're in the playoffs now. We didn't know that this morning. You can't plan on it. You play the game. We played the game and we eked out a win and Cincinnati did the job for us. If we can get a win next week, that's what it's all about."

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