Amid a harrowing week for the Buffalo Bills and all of the NFL world, Nyheim Hines penned a script that would garner the admiration of any Hollywood screenwriter.
As the Bills took the field against the New England Patriots on Sunday for the first time since Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hines took the very first play all the way to the end zone, inducing goosebumps as he dramatically raced 96 yards on the opening kickoff.
Hines had two returns for touchdowns on an unbelievably emotional and electrifying day. So when the NFL revealed the final Players of the Week of the 2022 season on Wednesday, it was of little surprise that Hines led the way as the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Following his game-opening 96-yard touchdown, Hines took it to the house once more with a 101-yard kickoff return for a score in the Bills' 35-23 win to put a capper on a truly special afternoon.
Jacksonville Jaguars pass rusher Josh Allen's scoop-and-score wasn't just a game-winning touchdown, but a division-winning score. Allen's 37-yard fumble return for a touchdown with less than three minutes to play lifted the Jaguars over the Tennessee Titans, 20-16, on Saturday to win the AFC South and clinch the club's first playoff berth since 2017. The play was also the biggest highlight of an all-around sterling effort as as AFC Defensive Player of the Week posted six tackles and a tackle for loss as the Jags completed a worst-to-first turnaround, going from last place in 2021 to first in 2022.
Seattle Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs also came up clutch to help his squad to the playoffs. Diggs' unbelievable overtime interception led to Seattle's game-winning field goal in its 19-16 OT triumph against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Diggs, who also had four tackles, and Co. then waited for the Detroit Lions to beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday to secure a playoff berth. After celebrating a playoff spot, Diggs can celebrate being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors went to Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who turned in a league-high 193 scrimmage yards to help his squad to a season-ending 31-28 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Jeudy had a career-high 154 yards receiving on five catches and added 39 yards rushing on a trio of carries.
Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams concluded a historic campaign as he propelled his new squad past his old one on Sunday night. Williams had 72 yards rushing and two touchdowns to lead the Lions over the Green Bay Packers, 20-16. With his effort on Sunday night, Williams eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season for the first time, broke Hall of Famer Barry Sanders' team record with a league-high 17 rushing touchdowns and was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
The Philadelphia Eagles wrapped up an NFC East title and the NFC's No. 1 seed in their 22-16 win over the New York Giants on Sunday, and it's unlikely it would've come to be without the clutch play of kicker Jake Elliott, who matched the opposition's point total himself. Elliott was a perfect 6 for 6 on kicks to garner NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. He was true on his only extra point and booted home five field goals in as many attempts, including a 52-yarder.