Andy Dalton finds Bills fans' donations 'amazing'

Soon after his epic, 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd that sent the Bills into the playoffs for the first time since 1999, Andy Dalton checked his phone. The Bengals quarterback, still high off the big win to end his season, noticed something funny.

"I got on Twitter after the game and everyone in my mentions were Bills fans," Dalton told NFL Media over the phone Friday. "And a couple were like, 'We're going to donate to your foundation, we're going to donate!'

"I didn't think much of it. But man, that thing just took off kind of out of nowhere. It's just been amazing to see how generous people have been."

What happened was Dalton went viral. On the field, yes, that clip of his fourth-and-12 touchdown toss clinching the Bills' berth was everywhere. But really, his charity went viral, too.

Bills fans, thankful for Dalton sending their team to the playoffs and ending the draught, flocked to The Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation in droves. Endless donations. Endless thanks. Endless publicity. Donations in $17 increments for every year out of the playoffs.

As of noon Saturday, the total was just shy of $345,000 from a whopping 15,000 donors, according to Sarah Sampson, an account manager at PR agency Vehr Community that does pro bono media relations for his foundation.

"The generosity of an opposing team, a fan base that's not even ours -- a team we beat this year, amazing," Dalton said. "It puts it all into perspective. I mean, they made the playoffs not just because we won but they also had to win to get there. But it's a crazy story -- the impact a football game has on people. They were willing to donate to someone else's charity. That shows you how big the game is, how you can use it for good."

Dalton's charity aims to provide support and resources to families, using daily help and experiences to assist those with seriously ill or physically challenged children in his hometowns of Cincinnati and Fort Worth, Texas. A big focus, Dalton said, is the "Pass it on Fund," which provides assistance to families struggling to pay medical bills.

Since 2012, the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation has impacted 3.5 million people.

Dalton realized something was really up when he heard from Amy Floyd, the executive director of his foundation. She gets emails on her phone every time someone donates. And she got a lot of emails.

"Amy literally had to turn off her phone because she couldn't even use it," Dalton said. "She was getting 10 emails a minute. Like, this thing is taking off! The number was getting higher and higher."

With no advertising, Dalton's foundation was suddenly huge news. And the recipients will benefit -- as will the Bills.

"From a social media standpoint, you can use it for something negative or positive," Dalton said. "Obviously this has been a huge positive."

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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