The Atlanta Falcons know that there’s only one surefire way to stop Josh Allen — never let him on the field.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees addressed the difficulty in containing the Buffalo Bills quarterback. Allen is coming off one of the most effective games of his career, carving up the New England Patriots defense by completing 30 of 47 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns while adding another 64 rushing yards on 12 carries. He’ll now face a Falcons defense giving up an average of 244 passing yards per game, and Pees is worried about the task ahead of him.
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One Way to Stop Allen
When asked what his team could do to stop Allen, Pees seemed to admit that it was an impossible task to fully contain him.
“Don’t let him off the bus,” Pees joked.
The stakes will be high for the Bills when the teams meet in Orchard Park on January 2. Buffalo’s win over New England gave them control of the AFC East, with the Falcons and New York Jets now the only thing standing between them and consecutive divisional titles. After the win over the Patriots, Allen talked about the importance of finishing the season strong.
“We’ve got two more games left and we’ve gotta keep going,” the Bills quarterback said, via ESPN.
Allen has followed up his breakout season in 2020 with another strong campaign that has once again put him in the MVP conversation. The Bills quarterback has thrown for 4,048 yards this season with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, adding another 619 yards rushing with four rushing touchdowns.
The task of stopping Allen and the Bills offense could be even more complicated for the Falcons given their recent COVID-19 outbreak. Since Monday, the team has added 10 players to the Reserve/COVID-19 list in addition to two who were still on the list from last week. Because the Falcons are fully vaccinated, there is a chance that all could return in time for Sunday’s game if they test negative twice at least 24 hours apart.
Bills Have Their Hands Full, Too
The Falcons won’t be the only team trying to figure out a way to slow an opposing player. The Bills will need to account for versatile running back Cordarrelle Patterson and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, who are both potent weapons for the Falcons.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said the Falcons are great at finding creative ways to use Pitts, which creates challenges for the Bills defense.
“They’re using him in a lot of different ways, moving him around, in terms of formation and creating mismatches at times,” McDermott said. “So it is a headache anytime you have a player like that that you have to defend that can move around.”
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier added that Patterson is capable of doing damage as well.
“He’s a versatile guy, at one point was one of the top returners, kickoff return guys in our league,” Frazier said. “And I’m sure he’s still capable of doing that, but they’re using him more as a running back/receiver now and he’s having a good season. He’s become really, the go-to guy, along with Kyle Pitts, in their offense.”