Why the Bills season, and the AFC Playoff race, rests in the hands of Josh Allen

Josh Allen, Bills, NFL, Jets
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen’s 2019 Bills

As it always does, the story of the 2019 Buffalo Bills comes back to the quarterback. Welcome to the NFL, it’s a passer’s league. 

Even without the help of Stefon Diggs, even with key contributors like Cody Ford, Ed Oliver, and running back Devin Singletary all playing as wide-eyed rookies with little experience, you could see the level of talent on the roster shining through. More importantly, you could see just what Allen brought to the team– as well as what he took away from it.

Buffalo leaned on their defense as much as they could on their way to a ten-win season, a defense that had to be elite in order to carry a Bills defense that was underperforming, despite their talent. While Allen’s group struggled on the stat sheet, finishing in the bottom third of the league in points and yards per game— the Buffalo defense was playing at a nearly unrivaled level, allowing the second-fewest points per game and the third-fewest yards.

But Buffalo was still winning games, just winning them in the same way their quarterback plays: ugly. They rarely ever set the scoreboard on fire, and much of that can be traced back to Allen.

For as much as the Bills quarterback likes to throw the ball deep, he doesn’t do it at an exceptional level. Despite throwing the eighth-most passes in the league of 21 or more yards, Allen managed to complete just 33% of them– third-worst in the league.

That level of inaccuracy on deep balls was just part of the story though. Despite completing a career-high, even dating back to college, 58.8% of his passes, Allen still placed dead last in the league for qualified passers. Allen, through inaccuracy and turnover woes, walked off the field a few too many times without getting his team to the endzone. And for as good as his defense was in 2019, those issues are what put an end to Buffalo’s season.

Once again, Allen’s raw talent shined through in his team’s playoff match against the Houston Texans, and helped get the Bills off to a lead. A long run from Allen,  followed by a show of versatility on a Josh Allen touchdown catch on the Bills’ very first drive– and it looked like Buffalo was in good hands.

But as quickly as Good Josh Allen got the Bills a lead, Bad Josh Allen arrived to keep them from holding onto it. Terrible play after terrible play kept popping up for Allen. From multiple dropped interceptions, to a hilariously ill-advised lateral after a scramble, to throwing into double coverage 40 yards down field to a FULLBACK. 

These are the quintessential Josh Allen plays. These are the plays that have kept the Bills from realizing their full potential. And they’re the plays Allen needs to rid himself of. If he can, this team has realistic Super Bowl hopes. And if he can’t…

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