As soon as Micah Hyde emerged from the tunnel, he knew Saturday afternoon was going to be special.
"It was rocking," the Buffalo Bills' safety said. "It was louder than I expected, and I'm not going to lie. We didn't even have the upper deck. It was wild to hear.
"But when I was coming out of the tunnel, I literally got chills. I'm used to it being quiet, but it was awesome to get a win for the Bills Mafia in Orchard Park for the first time since ."
The Bills made it exciting by failing to win by the usual double-digit margin, but the energy the fans provided might have been just enough to make a difference on a day when the Colts gave them their best shot before succumbing, 27-24, when a desperation heave toward the end zone fell incomplete.
"I want to thank the fans," coach Sean McDermott added. "What an awesome, awesome day. I know not all the fans out there could be with us today. But we know you're at home cheering for us. That's important. But what an awesome, awesome day it was in terms of fan support, ... It was just a special afternoon for everyone."
"... It almost sounded like it was full. Only in Buffalo."
Said defensive end Jerry Hughes: "We were able to get a fourth-down conversion on offense [by getting Colts defensive end Komoko Turay to jump offside]. I mean, you attribute that to crowd noise. That was Bills Mafia doing what they do best, bringing the energy and bringing the juice and that's exactly what we needed.
"I was happy to be able to go out there, and we got that win for them."
Bills tackle Jon Feliciano was equally pumped.
"It was great for [the fans]," he said. "We do it for them and I was happy to see them out there today. They were super loud."
Alas, the open event wasn't a 100% success.
Of the 7,100 fans, media members and guests who originally were allowed to attend if they submitted to a COVID-19 test, 137 tested positive for the virus and weren't allowed to attend, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
The Bills next weekend will host the highest remaining seed remaining from Sunday's Ravens-Titans and Browns-Steelers games. The lowest remaining seed will visit top seed Kansas City.
A Bills victory and a Kansas City loss would put the AFC Championship game in Orchard Park.