The Buffalo Bills rebounded from a disappointing loss on Sunday, blowing out a longtime rival and seizing control in the AFC East.
But the excitement over the 35-0 win over the Miami Dolphins was tempered by lingering questions about the play of quarterback Josh Allen, who through two games has been unable to regain his MVP form of last season and struggled with inconsistent play. Pundits have pointed out his deficiencies and Allen himself turned attention on himself, saying there is room for improvement.
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Allen Faces Uncharacteristic Struggles
Facing a team that he has torched in the past, both in the air and on the ground, Allen turned in largely pedestrian numbers against the Dolphins this time. He completed 17 of 33 passes for 179 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception that handed the ball to the Dolphins deep in Buffalo territory. The Bills defense clamped down to keep Miami off the board, and the rushing game did its part to propel Buffalo to victory, but questions about Allen’s play remain.
As The Athletic’s KC Joyner noted, the main issue for Allen has been his inability to hit make big pays on downfield throws and rushing attempts.
“The issue is these downfield throws and frequent rush attempts netted big plays last year and so far they aren’t doing that this year,” Joyner noted. “Allen ranks 32nd in vertical YPA, 31st in vertical completion rate, has zero touchdown passes on vertical passes, and hasn’t found the end zone on a single rush attempt.”
Allen was able to shake off much of the poor play after halftime against the Dolphins, leading an opening drive where he completed five of seven passes for 56 yards and capping it off with a perfectly placed eight-yard touchdown pass to Dawson Knox. The Bills quarterback was in a groove by the end of the game, punctuating the win with a 41-yard completion to Stefon Diggs that set up the final touchdown.
Allen Vows to Improve
Allen has always been one of his own harshest critics, and found fault in his play after the blowout win over Miami. Speaking to reporters after the game, Allen had high praise for the Dolphins secondary but said the Bills needed to do more to take advantage of their opportunities. Allen vowed to continue working out the kinks.
“They’ve got some really good players over there and they made some really good plays today,” Allen said, via the Democrat and Chronicle. “But there’s some things that we need to do better communication-wise and it starts with me. There’s going to be a lot of stuff to learn from on this tape. Again, winning the way we did, it feels good.”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said he was happy with the way the team responded to the season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. While he too acknowledged that there were things the team could have done better against Miami, the win left him optimistic for the future.
“I saw a hunger in our football team this week,” McDermott said, via the Democrat and Chronicle. “We got plenty to work on, though, and that’s what we’ve got to get back to. We’ll start on the plane as coaches watching the film and try to improve every week, that’s the goal.”