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Damar Hamlin Has Elated Response as His Replacement Makes Huge Play to Help Bills Advance in Playoffs

For the past two weeks, the Buffalo Bills safety who was in the minds and hearts of the sports world was Damar Hamlin. But on Sunday, it was Dean Marlowe, filling in while Hamlin recovered from the cardiac arrest he suffered earlier this month during “Monday Night Football,” who captured the attention of those watching — including Hamlin himself. Marlowe stepped up and intercepted a pass from Miami quarterback Skylar Thompson early in Buffalo’s 34-31 playoff victory over the Dolphins at Highmark Stadium. Hamlin, watching the game on TV, shared his joy via Twitter. “DEANNNOOOO!!! 31!!!!!!!!” he tweeted. The play came as it appeared a Buffalo blowout was taking shape. The Bills had made it on the scoreboard first. Marlowe’s interception followed, giving the Bills good field position that would lead to a 12-yard touchdown carry by James Cook. Miami refused to roll over, however, leading to a surprisingly nail-biting win for Buffalo. After the game, Marlowe admitted he was not in the right place during the play. “I knew I messed up, but I can only try and make the best of the situation and I think my instincts kind of kicked in to get back where I needed to be,” he said. “I seen him quickly throw the ball and I just put my hands up and grabbed it,” he said. He later joked about the interception, saying, “I’ve got to be living right.” Marlowe has known ups and downs. After a career at James Madison University, he joined the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He was released two years later and joined Buffalo, where he would remain through the 2020 season. Marlowe spent the next two seasons with the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, but the Bills reacquired him in a trade for a conditional seventh-round draft pick on Nov. 1. The safety, who played only one snap between the time he was acquired and Hamlin’s on-field collapse, got the call Jan. 8 in Buffalo’s 35-23 season-ending win over the New England Patriots, according to the Buffalo News. At the time, Marlowe said he was playing for Hamlin. “We preach next-man-up mentality. I’ve been able to be with Damar for the last, I’ll probably say 10 weeks, and just watching him grow each day,” he said. “In my mind, it wasn’t about me, it was about playing for him. Everything that I can do for him to watch and just be proud that the guys on the back end are doing their job. So, at any point in time, I know I’ve got to do my job and it’s the league. Next-man-up mentality and I go out there and play for my brothers,” Marlowe said. Preparing for the Patriots with the emotional crosscurrents of Hamlin’s collapse and recovery “was up and down,” he said. “We’re the same position and for me to fill in and do the job and get the job done – you know, we’re human, in the back of our mind thinking about, ‘Hey, this situation can be a little bit bigger because I’m filling in for him,’” the safety said. There was also a connection because Marlowe wears jersey No. 31, the number Hamlin wore in his first year with Buffalo before switching to No. 3 for the 2022 season. [firefly_poll] “But I kept even ground and with the support of my teammates and coaches and then family, they just said, ‘Go out there and do what you do. This is not your first rodeo. You’re here for a reason and go play ball,’” he said. At the time, Marlowe said all of the Bills players went through an emotional wringer. “We’re not superstars and all those things,” he said. “We just feel like at a point in time, we were very sensitive to what went down and for it to be a part of our family is a little uncomfortable. But this team is built for times like that. All we think about is just picking one another up and playing for each other.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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