If you forgot how the Cincinnati Bengals ended the 2017 season, go ask the nearest Buffalo Bills fan. They will be sure to remind you of the Week 17 miracle.
On December 31, 2017, with 53 seconds remaining and facing 4-and-12 on the road, quarterback Andy Dalton found Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard touchdown to give the Bengals a stunning 31-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
The outcome didn't really mean much to Cincinnati, which finished 7-9, but it knocked the Ravens out of AFC playoff contention and gave Buffalo a playoff berth for the first-time since 1999. The Bills Mafia was elated about clinching a postseason appearance, but they wouldn't soon forget the man who helped get them to the playoffs, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
Buffalo Bills Fan Give Back to Andy Dalton
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In typical Bills fashion, with the Bengals in town for a preseason game at New Era Field, Dalton was announced to the crowd while standing in the end zone, and the fans gave him a standing ovation as a thank-you for ending a tough playoff drought, which was the longest in major professional American sports. Simply phenomenal.
Dalton was all smiles, and understandably so. It was a pretty hilarious, yet genuine gesture. The 30-year-old signal caller was also about business on the field, too.
With a 57-yard touchdown pass to John Ross on the game's opening possession and another 14-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green later in the first quarter, the veteran looked dialed in, completing 11 of 16 passes for 180 yards and those two scores.
The Bengals beat the Bills 26-13, but the story isn't the game, really. After all, it's still just the NFL preseason, not even a mid-regular season or playoff game. The biggest headline is the ovation and the relationship the Bengals quarterback has with the Buffalo community.
Bills fans donated nearly $450,000 to Dalton's foundation and another $150,000 to the Western Pennsylvania Youth Athletic Association, in varying increments from $10 to $5,000. The Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation's mission is to "show God's love and grace while providing support, resources and experiences to seriously ill and physically challenged children and their families"
according to the foundation's website.
Dalton and his wife JJ returned the favor by making a donation to the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo and made a surprise appearance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, according to the Bengals social media.
While the Bengals have moved on from Dalton, giving the keys to Joe Burrow, the red-headed quarterback, who has spent time with the Cowboys and Saints, will never have to pay for a drink in Upstate New York again. However, that deal may be off the table if he signs a contract with the Miami Dolphins New York Jets or New England Patriots. However, if Josh Allen ever needs a backup, the Bills fanbase may see an ESPN highlight of Dalton tossing a touchdown to Stefon Diggs in the journeyman QB's last season. But we're sure they want to see a Super Bowl first.
This article was originally published on August 17 2018, and has been updated since.
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