Buffalo Bills running back Nyheim Hines has been named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his monster performance returning kicks in Buffalo’s 35-23 win over the New England Patriots to close out the regular season.
Nyheim Hines has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. pic.twitter.com/BFBCwhxBp2— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) January 11, 2023
In the Bills’ first play from scrimmage since safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during Monday Night Football on January 2, Hines took the opening kickoff from the Patriots 96 yards to the house, in a play that game announcer Jim Nantz called “storybook,” and that Hamlin himself reacted to with a simple, “OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
But Hines was not done: after the Patriots kicked a short field goal following a Bills turnover to take a 17-14 lead in the third quarter, Hines returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bills a 21-17. They would not trail for the remainder of the game, and won to secure the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs — while keeping the Patriots out of the postseason.
Buffalo acquired Hines in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts back on November 1, sending third-year running back Zack Moss and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Colts for the veteran speed back. In his first eight games with the Bills, however, he had not made much of an impact — particularly as a runner, where he’d logged just six carries for negative-three yards. He did score an important receiving touchdown in the Bills’ 32-29 win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 15, however, but this was easily his biggest and most clutch performance as a Bill to date.
Hines joins several teammates, including quarterback Josh Allen (three AFC Offensive Player of the Week wins), safety Jordan Poyer, linebacker Matt Milano, and defensive tackle Ed Oliver (one AFC Defensive Player of the week win each), as Bills who have won AFC Player of the Week honors during the 2022 season.