The Miami Dolphins had just scored a touchdown to pull them within three points of the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday in Orchard Park.
There was only 1:54 left on the clock, so the Dolphins lined up for an onside kick, hoping to get the ball back and score a game-tying field goal or even the go-ahead touchdown.
As the ball bounced high in the air off the kick, Bills safety Micah Hyde jumped up, grabbed the football while spinning, landed on his feet, then raced 45 yards for a touchdown, putting the Bills back up by 10 points and essentially sealing the win.
After the game, I asked Hyde to detail exactly what happened. From before the ball was kicked and where he lined up, to what he was thinking when the ball was in the air. Then, of course, whether or not he thought about going down to the ground before reaching the end zone to allow the clock to run out.
Here’s how he described it all:
“Watching film, we understand they do the high bounce to the left. I’m the left catcher. I have faith in my guys up front that they’re going to block. I’ve been in some games, big games, where the onside kick didn’t go our way. So I kind of have in my head ‘just go up and get it.’ If I get hit, come down with the football. I can go in the training room after the game.”
“I’m a ball guy. I’m not looking at anything but the ball. I know that kicker in the past has had that high bounce. In the last couple of games they’ve been down and they’ve been going for onside kicks, so he showed that on film, and I’m not looking at anybody. I’m literally looking at the ball, trying to go up and get it. I did that and kind of just landed on my feet.”
“You can’t focus on that. There are a ton of times when a guy will catch the ball, then try to avoid a hit, and the next thing you know he fumbles it, drops it. I’ve been in some big games where some onside kicks didn’t go my way, where it just changes the outcome of a season, so I figured ‘just be a ball guy.’ That’s what they ask me to do, and just go up and get it.”
“I was expecting to take a hit. I would rather catch it with my arms extended, so I just tried to go up and gather it. But you’ve got to go up and get it. You can’t wait for it to come down because that’s when guys get hit and stuff.”