BUFFALO, NY- When Andy Dalton threw a last minute touchdown pass to help his Cincinnati Bengals upset the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, the win secured a spot in the playoffs for the Buffalo Bills.
Dalton had no idea what was about to happen next.
"After the game I checked my Twitter, and a couple of Bills fan said they were going to donate to our foundation...basically thanking me for helping their team get to the playoffs," Dalton told WGRZ-TV in a phone interview Tuesday.
The Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation provides "support, opportunities, resources and life-changing experiences to seriously ill and physically challenged children and their families", according to its website, both in Cincinnati and Fort Worth TX where Dalton and his wife attended college.
"I didn't really think too much about it, but then the company that helps us run the foundation talked to me and said, 'you have no idea how many people are donating right now', while noting a flood of donations were coming in from appreciative Bills fans.
"We started getting the numbers on it and they said they were getting ten donations per minute," Dalton said.
According to Dalton, within 24 hours after the Bengals win, which secured the playoff spot for the Bills, over 2,500 donors pledged $57,000.
By late Wednesday morning, donations reached $100,000.
"It's been unbelievable, the support they've shown us," said Dalton. "I think it just shows what the game of football can do. We feel so blessed to be in a position where God has given us so much, so to turn that one play into a large donation has been great."
Dalton also noted many of the donations were for $17, emblematic of the number of years the Bills playoff drought had lingered.
"I realize the significance of the $17 figure, but I also know that some people have donated $1,000...we are going to be able to do so much with this money and help so many kids and their families," Dalton said.
Up until this point, Dalton says he was pretty much unfamiliar with Western New York, other than having traveled here twice to take on the Bills in 2011 and in 2013 (both wins by Cincinnati).
"I don't know much about it up there… we'll see if we can make a trip up there," said Dalton. "But I just think it's great that they turned our win and their playoff appearance into something good, and I think it's a great way to start off the new year."
Hear more from Andy Dalton tonight on Channel 2 News at 5:30 and 6pm.