Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen a threat with his legs as well as his arm in nearly pulling off a comeback win in Miami on Sunday.
Buffalo’s leading rusher on Sunday in Miami wasn’t their All-Pro running back, LeSean McCoy. Instead it was Josh Allen, the strong-armed rookie quarterback, who used both his arm and legs to nearly lead the Bills to victory over the Dolphins.
Allen gained 135 yards on the ground in Buffalo’s 21-17 loss to Miami, a new franchise record for a quarterback and the most since Colin Kaepernick had 151 in Week 16 of the 2014 season.
Allen, the Bills’ seventh overall pick out of Wyoming in April’s NFL Draft, accounted for 366 of the Bills 415 total yards on Sunday.
His performance came a week after he rushed for 99 yards in a win against Jacksonville. Allen’s play of late in leading Buffalo to wins in two out of the last three games after a 2-7 start has the Bills convinced their long search for a franchise quarterback is over.
Not only did Allen display wizardry with his legs, he found a new favorite target to go to through the air. Second-year wide receiver Zay Jones led the team with nine targets while catching four passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
It was how he scored those touchdowns that showed how dangerous Allen can be. On the first score, early in the second quarter, Allen broke from the pocket and rolled to his right before finding Jones in the back of the end zone.
The second came when Allen fit the ball between three Miami defenders for a 25-yard touchdown that gave Buffalo the lead with 12 minutes left.
Jones admitted after the game the Bills are in good hands with Allen at quarterback in the future.
“We’re moving in the right direction with him,” he said in his postgame press conference.
Allen’s ability to escape the pocket almost won the game for Buffalo in the final minute. Down four and facing a 4th-and-11 from Miami’s 30, Allen rolled around for more than 10 seconds before catching tight end Charles Clay wide open in the end zone.
He wasn’t able to get everything into the throw, however, and it hit the ground just short of Clay to effectively end the game.
When asked whether the team will try to rein in Allen’s running, head coach Sean McDermott instead says he wants Allen to take what the defence gives him.
“If that’s how they’re going to defend him,” McDermott said. “Guy’s a competitor, man. He’s a competitive sucker, and I’ll take him on my team any day. That was a great performance.”
Nearing the end of his first season, Allen has thrown for 1,223 yards and five touchdowns in seven starts. The one area of concern for him is his accuracy: Allen ranks last among NFL quarterbacks in completion percentage at 53 per cent to go along with seven interceptions.
But the Bills can afford to be patient with him. After all, this is a team that waited 18 years in between playoff appearances. They’ve also used 20 different starting quarterbacks since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired in 1996.
If Allen can continue to play like he did on Sunday, however, the job is safely his for years to come.