The long-awaited Monday night duel between the Bills and the Bengals in Cincinnati quickly became secondary when a Bills defensive back, Damar Hamlin, had to receive respiratory resuscitation maneuvers before leaving the stadium in an ambulance.
The NFL decided around 10 p.m. to cancel the current game and no news on Hamlin's condition was available at that time.
The Bengals held a 7-3 lead when Hamlin collided with Bengals receiver Tee Higgins on a pass play. In a chilling moment, Hamlin got to his feet from the shock, before collapsing to the ground suddenly.
First aid was administered for long minutes after the incident, which occurred at 8:55 a.m.
At 9:25 p.m., the 24-year-old left for the Cincinnati hospital in an ambulance, accompanied by his mother, who was in the stadium.
Players in shock
The scene visibly disturbed the players on the field. Several immediately yelled towards the sidelines for help. Bills players gathered around Hamlin and several of them, overwhelmed with emotion, cried their heart out.
Several Bengals players also joined them in a gesture of solidarity that hinted at the seriousness of the situation. A heavy silence seemed to reign in Cincinnati.
At the time, the NFL let both teams know they had five minutes after the ambulance exited to warm up to resume the game.
This cold request was denied by both coaches Sean McDermott of the Bills and Zac Taylor of the Bengals. The two consulted and dispatched their players to the locker room.
It took more than an hour before the league, which communicated with the two teams, decided to postpone the game.
The Bills and Bengals are two of the powerhouses of the NFL and the stake, which seemed major, has obviously become quite negligible. Under the circumstances, the league made the only sensible decision. No player has their hearts and minds on the field when a teammate is fighting for survival.
The ESPN network, broadcaster of the match, let it be known that the players of the two teams hugged each other as they left the two locker rooms.
No time was given for the resumption of the meeting, a news which is once again, very secondary.
More details will follow...