When the Buffalo Bills exited the Divisional round of the playoffs in January 2022 following one of the most thrilling games in our collective memories against the Kansas City Chiefs, Bills fans were looking forward to the next time we would see the team play ball again. Since that loss, the Bills have had to face hurdles on and off the field, but have so far overcome.
As the Bills stand on the cusp of this year’s postseason, here’s a recap of the awful 12 months the team, city, and fans have endured.
The last time Josh Allen had the ball in the 2021 season, Buffalo scored a go-ahead touchdown on fourth down with just 13 seconds left. The Chiefs drove the field to tie, won the overtime coin toss, and then won the game 42-36 in overtime.
Offensive coaching staff overhaul
The Giants hired away Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen in January, and as soon as Buffalo was eliminated from the postseason, he hired Bills’ offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as his new head coach. Daboll took the QBs coach Shea Tierney and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson with him to New York, as well.
Buffalo’s racist supermarket shooting
In May, a shooter motivated by white supremacist ideologies took aim at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo that had a primarily Black clientele. Ten shoppers, all Black, were murdered, devastating the city and particularly the Black community in Buffalo. The Bills were quick to respond, gathering players and team personnel to distribute food and hugs to locals inside the food desert on the east side of the city.
Owner and team president Kim Pegula hospitalized
We still don’t have word on what caused Bills owner Kim Pegula to be hospitalized in June of 2022, but we have not seen her since. The last update was in late June.
Dawson Knox’s brother dies
Luke Knox, younger brother of tight end Dawson Knox, passed away unexpectedly in August. After spending a week away from the team, the elder Knox returned amid a flurry of fans donating to charity in honor of his brother.
Bills lose All-Pro safety Micah Hyde
With the secondary already undermanned, All-Pro safety Micah Hyde suffered an injury in Buffalo’s Week 2 contest against the Titans. He has not returned. Hyde has been in the training room and on the sidelines and remains one of the vocal leaders of the defense.
Heat-related illness in Miami
Buffalo’s Week 3 game against the Miami Dolphins turned particularly ugly as tackle Spencer Brown left the game with a heat-related illness, while Stefon Diggs and several others Bills players had to miss plays due to cramping. The Bills lost the game.
Three road trips in 12 days due to weather
When 7 feet of snow fell in 24 hours in Orchard Park, the Bills had to dig out their cars and violate Erie County’s travel ban to make it to the airport and fly to their “home” game in Detroit. They beat the Browns and four days later returned to Detroit to beat the surging Lions on Thanksgiving. Buffalo finished off their three road games in 12 days by defeating the Patriots in New England.
Tre’Davious White working back from ACL tear
On Thanksgiving 2021, Bills All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White tore his ACL. We kept hearing he was “on track” and was no longer listed on the injury report 12 months later, but wasn’t playing. They eased him back into the lineup on Thanksgiving 2022 and he’s now back to playing 100% of the snaps, but something other than the physical injury kept him off the field.
Von Miller goes down with an ACL tear
The Bills signed Von Miller to be the difference-maker for the playoffs. On Thanksgiving, he hurt his knee, and despite early optimism he could return, when the docs went in for exploratory surgery, they completely replaced his ACL.
December blizzard grounds Bills in Chicago on Christmas
Just a few weeks after their first storm-related road trip, the Bills had to alter a second game due to snow. The Bills got out before this storm, but found out after the game they would have to spend Christmas Eve in Chicago. They flew to a neighboring city Christmas morning and took a two-hour bus ride to the Buffalo airport, where they had to dig out their cars and once again violate a travel ban to get home.
House fire claims multiple children in the same family
On New Year’s Eve, a house in Buffalo caught fire, claiming the lives of five children under the age of 10, while a newborn infant and the children’s grandmother escaped with their lives.
‘Voice of the Bills’ John Murphy suffers a stroke
On New Year’s weekend, Bills’ team radio announcer John Murphy suffered a stroke. He wasn’t in the booth on Jan. 2 when the Bills visited the Bengals and has not returned.
Damar Hamlin revived on the field
On Jan. 2, Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and went into cardiac arrest. Trainers kept him alive with CPR and revived him on the field with an AED. He was transported to the hospital and doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery.
Games on every day of the week
Bills head coach Sean McDermott loves a consistent schedule, but with three Thursday games, two Monday tilts, and two Saturday contests, not to mention shifting practice schedules, the Bills have been all over the calendar.
One of the favorite sayings of former Bills head coach and Hall of Famer Marv Levy is, “When it’s too tough for them, it’s just right for us.” He also famously quoted a poem to the locker room following one of the team’s four back-to-back 90s-era Super Bowl losses:
“Fight on, my men,” says Sir Andrew Barton,
”I am hurt, but I am not slain;
I’ll lay me down and bleed a while,
And then I’ll rise and fight again.”
The Bills have lived that this season. Let’s see if they can carry it to a championship.