Bills Coach Explains Why Josh Allen Is Playing Better Than Stats Show

Josh Allen

Getty Josh Allen throws a pass in the first half against the Miami Dolphins.

Through two games this season, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has fallen short of the MVP-caliber performances he turned in last year. But head coach Sean McDermott says the All-Pro quarterback is actually playing smarter, making some small plays that may not show up on the stat sheet but help the team win.

After breaking a number of franchise passing records last year and leading the Bills to the AFC Championship game, Allen was rewarded with a massive contract extension. He has had a slow start to the 2021 season, however, throwing for 449 yards with three touchdowns and one interception through two games while completing 56 percent of his passes. Despite the slow start, Allen still has the full confidence of his head coach.

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Attention to Details

McDermott spoke to reporters this week, saying he has seen a lot of improvement in Allen from the September 12 season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the blowout win over the Miami Dolphins on September 19.

“You look at what he did in last week’s game… there was a lot of growth between Week 1 and Week 2 that’s maybe not being talked about,” McDermott said.

“I just feel like, things that, execution wise and running the operation. You look at even just a couple of throws that were within five yards of the line of scrimmage. When you go back and look at the tape, those throws aren’t made by every quarterback in the league,” the Bills coach added. “Smart football wins.”

Some of those smart plays may be hurting Allen’s stat line this season. McDermott pointed to some of his red-zone throwaways, plays that Allen may have tried to force in the past but now is making the safer decision.

“That’s probably not talked about. But it’s a smart football play,” McDermott added.

Allen’s Play Earns Praise

McDermott isn’t the only one who believes Allen is having a much better season than his stats may imply. Jim Kubiak, a former NFL quarterback who now leads the Western New York Quarterback Academy, noted that Allen has been doing a great job taking care of the football this year. Writing for the Buffalo News, Kubiak wrote that Allen has shown poise with his decision to throw the ball away when there are no good options, keeping drives alive and minimizing mistakes.

Kubiak added that it’s not appropriate to judge Allen’s 2021 season against his breakout year in 2020, noting that defenses are doing all they can to stop him. That has allowed the Bills to have a stronger running game, with running backs contributing three touchdown runs in the 35-0 win over the Dolphins.

“The mistake that fans shouldn’t make in the analysis of this particular game is to judge Allen’s numbers against last season,” Kubiak wrote. “Teams are doing everything in their power to limit Allen’s big plays. Ultimately, his job is to use his skills to manage the team to victory. He used his rifle arm, surprising ability to run and his decision making to manufacture success, particularly by protecting the football.”

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