No Bills player or fan will ever forget New Year’s Eve 2017, for on that night, Buffalo clinched a playoff berth for the first time this century.
They just needed a little help to get there.
The Bills beat the Dolphins in Miami that day but still needed the Bengals to beat the Ravens to reach the postseason. After beating Miami, Bills players rushed toward the locker room to catch the final minutes of the game.
“It was just so intense,” Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “We had done everything we could possibly do to put ourselves in a position to make the playoffs, but it still was out of our hands. I think if you talk to any football player, they don’t like to deal with things that they can’t control. So everybody is rushing to the locker room, let’s turn the game on, and we’re all sitting there like little kids watching it and just kind of going up and down with the emotions of the game.”
As fate would have it, Andy Dalton completed a 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd on 4th-and-10 to stun Baltimore, 31-27, in the final minute.
“The locker room erupts,” Alexander said. “I think the whole entire Bills Mafia around the world erupts. It was cool to share that, especially with a guy like Kyle Williams.”
Williams, 34, was drafted in 2006. The five-time Pro-Bowl defensive tackle has spent his entire 12-year career in Buffalo.
“For him to never make the playoffs util that moment was very special,” said Alexander, who signed with Buffalo in 2016. “I’ve gotten very close to Kyle. To see that, that emotion, just all that hard work to finally come and pay off to get to the dance was awesome.”
Bills fans could relate. They hadn’t tasted the postseason since 1999.
“You see the videos of people crying, cheering, hugging each other – Bills Mafia and the Buffalo Bills, they’re one in the same,” Alexander said. “That community really supports our football franchise.”
Alexander noted that his children attend school in Buffalo and that the teachers sing the “Let’s Go Buffalo” song every Friday during the season.
“This stuff is like a cult,” Alexander said. “You have no choice. No wonder they’re so passionate up here.”