LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson threw the ball 75 yards into the opponent’s end zone to start the game with a touchback. Then Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his offense tormented his opponents for 60 minutes in a 31–13 win. A familiar site for Raiders fans.
And just like that, the National Football League kept fighting after a week of anguish and unanswered questions.
Five days after Buffalo Bills safety Dumar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after collapsing on the field during a game – 10 terrifying scenes as medical personnel repeatedly squeezed his chest and teammates and opponents cried Minutes lasted – the NFL is back on Saturday afternoon. AFC Contest.
It was just one game, but it was a very important game for the NFL. The NFL spends billions of dollars marketing violent sports, but it hopes to never suffer the worst consequences of that violence. The severity of Hamlin’s injury has created a crisis for the league. Because he was a stark reminder to fans that he could end up far worse than a concussion or a torn ligament.
The game progressed while players were still processing what they witnessed Monday night.
“I’ve never seen someone on the field doing CPR or anything like that,” Mahomes told reporters Wednesday. “I don’t know if any of us have seen it.
Asked if Kansas City should play again this weekend, Mahomes hesitated. “It’s hard for me to say,” he said. “It’s not something I can control either way.”
But when he stepped onto the field, it looked like any other NFL game. There were epic plays, terrible fumbles, camera-stealing fans, halftime entertainment provided by a band past its prime, and, finally, the familiar result of Kansas City winning and Las Vegas losing.
More on the Collapse of Dummer Hamlin
It was one particular Saturday with a little twist on the old saw. The signs of weakness that Hamlin’s injury threw at the league were mostly seen before the game.
Mahomes prepared for the game in one of Hamlin’s many tributes at Allegiant Stadium, a cut-off hooded sweatshirt with the image of Hamlin and the words “Hamlin Strong” on the back.
Las Vegas Raiders players wore black warm-ups that read “Love for Dummer” and had his number 3 on the front. No. 3 was outlined in Buffalo his Bills his color dark blue at every 30 yard line.
“The entire NFL family has been praying all week as Buffalo Bills forward Dumar Hamlin continues to recover,” the announcer said before the national anthem. “The Raiders are asking you to join us in this moment of support and love for Damar and to support him and his family as they continue to fight.”
bill said on saturday Hamlin continues to make progress at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, but he remains in critical condition. In a video chat, Hamlin spoke with some of his teammates.
“A long road, keep praying for me!” read a new post on Hamlin’s Instagram account on Saturday.
Injuries are inevitable in football and players are used to competing through pain that sidelines the average person. But I’m used to quickly regrouping and continuing to play. The Raiders had to do that Saturday when their already thin linebacker corps was further hobbled when Harvey Langi left the game with a concussion.
But Hamlin’s injury, which threatened his life, wasn’t something a player could compartmentalize. The match was postponed and eventually cancelled. Both have little precedent in NFL history.
“It’s probably on the back end of people’s minds,” Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham said.
I couldn’t tell you anything was different around Las Vegas on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, thousands of Kansas City fans dressed in red, bought drinks with team-branded credit cards, packed every available plane, and headed west to enjoy a weekend in Vegas. .
The tickets had already been purchased and the hotel room was reserved, so they stuck to their schedule. So did Raiders fans with face paint and spiked shoulders.
“It’s the Raiders and it’s the Chiefs,” Kansas City manager Andy Reed said Wednesday. “It doesn’t get any better and I’m looking forward to playing with them.”
The NFL designed a tribute to Hamlin, but it seems few fans did. There were just as many fans wearing uniforms representing their teams.
Frank Nostro, 54, who wore the Josh Allen No. 17 Bills jersey, said he saw Hamlin get hit Monday night. “I thought it was just a regular blow. I see a lot of players going down with concussions and such,” he said. “But when you see some coaches and staff in replays and panicking, you realize it was really bad.”
Nostro, who grew up in Buffalo and moved to Las Vegas 30 years ago, was most interested in winning for the Bills. “I’m a Bills fan and will always be a Bills fan, but if the Raiders win today, it helps Buffalo,” he said.
The Raiders unfortunately didn’t help the Bills for Nostro. With this win, Kansas City regular ended his season with his 14-3 record and byeded him in the first round of the playoffs.
But the NFL chose not to restart the Bengals-Bills game, which was postponed Monday night following Hamlin’s collapse, so the first seed doesn’t necessarily guarantee Kansas City’s home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If Buffalo beats New England on Sunday, the AFC Championship match between the two teams will be played on a neutral ground, which has yet to be decided.The Bengals are done.