Well, this was weird. One play after Washington running back Antonio Gibson took a screen pass 73 yards to the house to get the Football Team some kind of momentum in what had been a Buffalo Bills 21-0 lead, kicker Dustin Hopkins booted the ball back to the Bills.
Or so he thought.
The wind is rather blustery in Orchard Park’s Highmark Stadium — not new in Buffalo — and this caused Hopkins’ kick to veer off from where the Bills’ coverage team thought it would be. The kick was both shorter and further away from the center of the field than expected. As a result, the ball blew through the Bills, and Hopkins somehow managed to recover his own kickoff at the Bills’ 18-yard line.
The kick: Washington’s Dustin Hopkins
The recovery: Washington’s Dustin Hopkins pic.twitter.com/IYqsNOz5Y0
— USA TODAY NFL (@usatodaynfl) September 26, 2021
We’re not sure, but this could be the longest successful onside kick in NFL history, intentional or not. Washington responded to this bit of good luck by driving downfield, and with 7:50 left in the first half, quarterback Taylor Heinicke ran it in from the four-yard line to make the score 21-14 after the extra point.
Taylor Heinicke is gutting his way through a first half on the road. Washington is back within 7. pic.twitter.com/ybGcrQK8x3
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) September 26, 2021
We assume that the Bills’ special teams coaches will exhort their players to track the ball a bit earlier in the process from now on.