Whether you like him or not, Josh Allen is good at playing quarterback. When on point, he’s a very good one. The Buffalo Bills are sitting at 3-0, and despite the criticism found on social media, Allen’s played perhaps the most prominent role in the team’s newfound glory.
Let’s give credit to the Bills’ front office. Brandon Beane took a chance on a gunslinger with a cannon for an arm, but with accuracy issues that he hoped could develop. Three weeks into the year, Allen is sitting near the top of every offensive category and is making teams start to miss his old style of play.
There’s been missed moments for the 24-year-old starter, but they’re sprinkled in-between the likes perfect passes and quality decision-making. No longer stands a quarterback destined to struggle, but rather one who’s slowly becoming the next great name under center. And while some will never admit to missing on the potential Allen brings to the table, his production speaks for itself.
Believe it or not, Allen is the next big name at quarterback, so get used to it.
The Bills have a franchise quarterback in Josh Allen
Sunday was a serving of Allen’s potential
In 2018, Jalen Ramsey sat down with GQ Magazine to talk about quarterbacks in the NFL. The then-Jaguars corner was harsh on multiple pocket-passers but laid into the rookie in Orchard Park heaviest.
“I don’t care what nobody say,” Ramsey said. “He’s trash. And it’s gonna show, too. That’s a stupid draft pick to me.”
The jokes were on Ramsey when taking the field with Los Angeles Sunday. Allen and the offense sparked a 28-3 lead entering halftime with the “trash pick” throwing for three scores and adding another on the ground. The former Wyoming star made sure to let Ramsey know his name as well, connecting with Stefon Diggs for his third score of the half.
Los Angeles almost made Buffalo a Falcons’ joke with their fourth-quarter surge, largely in part of superhuman Aaron Donald. The former Defensive Player of the Year stripped-sacked Allen, setting up a Darrell Henderson touchdown run for the lead. With five minutes remaining, the Bills had the chance to see if Allen was ready for the next leap.
That was asked and answered, along with so much more in the closing minutes.
After taking a sack that could have been a fumble, Allen connected on a dart with Cole Beasley for a 22-yard gain between three Rams defenders. Add another 19-yard pickup at midfield, and Buffalo was in the red zone. A costly facemask penalty against Allen pushed the Bills into a third-and-25 situation. Trying to make up the points, Allen connected with Diggs for a 17-yard gain, setting up fourth-and-8.
Officiating perhaps was questionable, but a pass interference call on Los Angeles sealed their fate. One play later, Allen connected with Tyler Kroft for the 3-yard touchdown, cementing his tenth game-winning drive since entering the league in 2018.
Allen has made significant strides in 2020
The Bills remain one of four AFC clubs undefeated following Monday’s showdown in Baltimore. It’s not because of their defense, which allowed 28 points on drives in the second half. It’s not because of their run game, which combined has 311 yards and two scores on the year. Allen is the nucleus to the team’s success thus far, and the one consistent on either side.
Going 24-for-33 for 311 yards with five total touchdowns, Sunday marked the third straight week Allen’s surpassed the 300-yard marker and a completion rating above 68.6%. To begin the 2020 season, he ranks second in passing yards (1,038), passing touchdowns (10), third in passer rating (124.8), and fourth in QBR (84.9). As for the concerns with accuracy? He’s currently hovering with a 71.1% completion percentage that ranks seventh in the league.
Another year in Brian Daboll’s system has everything clicking for the Bills’ star. Despite four turnovers, three are on his ability to retain possession in the open field and not his throwing mechanics. Raising his completion rate by nearly 20% and only throwing one interception, Allen’s building a repertoire as a confident passer.
Buffalo watched Allen throw ten touchdowns in his rookie year and rush for another eight. Beane knew that getting the best out of his lasting mark on the organization would need a stronger supporting cast to thrive. Last season, the team added John Brown and Beasley to help improve his passer rating. Beasley has been a constant in the slot, tallying a 15.2 yards per catch. With Diggs’ addition in the offseason, the Bills gained on of the league’s top vertical threats that even Allen couldn’t miss by much.
Speaking of deep ball production, that’s been his highest growth of the offseason. On passes 20-plus yards or further, Allen’s connected with his target 10-of-13 time for a 76.9% completion rate. Granted, those numbers against defenses like the Jets are Dolphins won’t wow the critics, but consistency is key. For the first time since entering the league, Allen is leading the target instead of watching his receiver play catch-up.
Can it last in Buffalo?
Los Angeles’ pass defense entered Sunday allowing an average of 254 yards per outing. Allen had nearly that many yards by the middle of the third quarter. As the Bills look to remain undefeated, Allen can hope his production and development will only flourish against weaker secondaries.
Buffalo will take on Las Vegas, Tennessee, Kanas City, and Seattle before their bye week in Week 11. All four pass defenses rank in the bottom half of the league, allowing an average more than 240 yards per game and a completion rate of at least 64%. If Allen keeps this up, how long until the Bills suffer a loss?
There are two front-runners for the AFC title, but Buffalo isn’t that far behind. If anything, the defense, which has been the team’s identity since Sean McDermott arrived in 2017, might be the team’s liability come January. Allen, meanwhile, is no longer a liability, but rather the stability to a franchise that finished with 10 wins a season ago.
The new and improved Allen might not win an MVP in 2020. He might even regress as defenses slowly figure out how to defend the Bills’ receiving unit. For now, it’s time to let Allen stand tall and look back at his success. More importantly, the doubters can be quiet a little while longer.
The Bills are now Allen’s team, and his play will decide how far they can go in 2020.