Saturday marked the first chance for a lot of people to see Josh Allen in a nationally televised game, and the Bills quarterback put on a show. Allen showed poise, smarts, and athleticism — leading Buffalo to a 27-24 win over the Colts and advance the Bills in the playoffs.
Allen faced a fair share of criticism when the Bills drafted him in 2018, but the 24-year-old has quickly blossomed into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. His 237 yard, 2 touchdown clinic against Indianapolis (all while completing 76 percent of his passes) showed why he’s become almost impossible to stop.
Allen can air it out like it’s nothing.
Stefon Diggs has really been the missing piece for the Bills. Trading for him was the best move of the offseason. Getting Allen a reliable, big-play receiver pairs perfectly with his ability to air it out with ease and make great decisions.
Then he used the threat of his run to set up this pass.
The joke used to be that there wasn’t a running opportunity Allen didn’t like, and he’s shown the wheels to take off when needed. Against the Colts he ran for 54 yards, but it’s plays like this, where he used the run threat to keep them honest before dumping off a pass, that makes him so scary in the red zone.
Allen later did the opposite.
Flipping the script and taking off happened because he sold the handoff perfectly to the running back, but the defense still had to respect the possibility of him throwing it in. That’s too many threats to cover, and while part of the defense went for the running back, the secondary were left in two minds whether to remain in coverage, or close in. From there Allen was easily able to make a move into the end zone.
There are times it’s impossible to defend him.
Sure, the catch was questionable — but the setup wasn’t. We know there are quarterbacks who can scramble when the chips are down, but few are able to escape the rush like this and still throw with accuracy. This is the toughest play to defend in football, and it’s why guys like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers have become Pro Bowl staples because of it.
I have no idea how you’re supposed to defend this.
He also has smarts for days.
A lot of this play is because Stefon Diggs got into single coverage and found separation, but it’s really Allen that makes a lot of this possible. Allen looks left and makes a small play fake, freezing the safety and making sure there’s no help over the top to cover Diggs — then delivers a perfect pass that rewards his receiver for getting that separation.
Josh Allen is going to get noticed in a big way.
It’s been relatively easy to overlook Allen this season, especially considering he’s in the AFC. People’s default state tends to think it’s Mahomes >>>>>> everyone else, but Josh Allen is showing he belongs in the conversation of the league’s best quarterbacks. He finished this season with over 4,500 passing yards, now he’s getting the national recognition he deserves.
We’re going to be hearing his name for a long, long time.