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Josh Allen Is Growing Into A Good NFL Quarterback, And Maybe That’s Good Enough


Oct. 07, 2019

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen is becoming a good NFL quarterback. Not great. But good.
And maybe good is good enough. Many NFL clubs have won championships with good quarterbacks, and the names Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Mark Rypien, Jim McMahon and Bob Griese come to mind.
Allen may someday become great. He is only 23 and has started only 16 NFL games. But he’s got to raise his TD pass totals and lower his turnover rate for anyone to involve him in the discussion about greatness.
Allen’s record is 9-7 as a starter, but it’s 8-1 in games in which he’s thrown fewer than two interceptions. Allen is 3-0 this year and was 5-1 last year in those games.
Allen was merely good in leading the Buffalo Bills to a 14-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans on the road on Sunday. His numbers reflect that with 219 yards in passing, two touchdowns and “only” one interception.
Great quarterbacks produce great numbers, and Allen really hasn’t put up great passing numbers. The mark of a great QB is having multiple 300-yard passing games. Allen has none. And greatness comes in throwing many more TD passes than interceptions. With Allen, it’s the reverse.
The one area where Allen has bordered on being great is in fourth-quarter game-winning drives, and Allen leads the league with three.
Let’s be honest, though. The Titans helped the Bills by self-destructing. Kicker Cairo Santos, missed three field goals and had another one blocked. And early in the fourth quarter, Titans QB Marcus Mariota threw a go-ahead TD pass that was called back because he was over the line of scrimmage when he released the ball.
Allen managed the game well and didn’t take too many risks, which is what he had to do coming out of concussion protocol only a day earlier.
With the victory, the Bills moved to 4-1 and joined an elite club.
They, along with six other NFL teams, are either unbeaten or have suffered only one loss.
The New England Patriots (5-0) and the San Francisco 49ers (3-0) are the only unbeaten teams left in the league. The 49ers play on Monday night.
Behind them at 4-1 are the Bills, the Green Bay Packers, the Kansas City Chiefs, the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks.
That’s pretty good company to be in, but it is not a stretch to say that the Bills are where they are based mostly on defense and not on Allen’s ability as a quarterback.
What this means is that there is even more pressure on the Bills defense to pull out games because the offense isn’t clicking the way the other front-runners are.
Allen has thrown only five TD passes in five games, which is tied for the fewest among the elite seven clubs in the NFL. Only Jimmy Garoppolo with the 49ers has as few as five TD passes, but he’s played only three games.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson has thrown more than two times as many TD passes as Allen, with 12 strikes in five games. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has thrown 11 and New England’s Tom Brady is third with 10.
Aaron Rodgers of the Packers and Teddy Bridgewater of the Saints are further down the list, having thrown six TD passes each.
Then you have Josh Allen bringing up the rear among the seven clubs with the best records.
Allen not only isn’t finding the end zone as much as the others, it’s that he has also thrown seven interceptions for a minus-2 differential. That is again the worst among those six other high-flying teams.
TD Passes Posted By QBs On The Best NFL Clubs After Week 5
Of course, Wilson is having an MVP-type season with the Seahawks. Not only has he thrown 12 TD strikes, but he has yet to throw a single interception.
Mahomes is almost as good, having thrown 11 TD passes and no interceptions.
Tom Brady has a sparkling differential as well, having thrown 10 TD passes to only two interceptions.
Allen is tied with L.A. Rams’ Jared Goff and Atlanta Hawks’ Matt Ryan with seven interceptions each.
When you break down the Bills’ offense and defense compared to the six other high-ranking clubs, you see where the weakness is. The Bills offense (yards/game) is ranked No. 13, while the defense is ranked right up there at No. 2.
It’s clear the Bills’ season will be decided on the defensive side of the ball. But if somehow Josh Allen can start to improve his TD passes-to-interceptions ratio, Buffalo will certainly become a more balanced outfit and greatly increase its chances of a postseason berth.
Breaking down the top seven teams
Patriots No. 12 on offense, No 1 on defense
49ers No. 4 on offense, No. 3 on defense
Bills No. 13 on offense, No. 2 on defense
Packers No. 25 on offense, No. 22 on defense
Chiefs No. 2 on offense, No. 25 on defense
Saints No. 21 on offense, No. 19 on defense
Seahawks No. 7 on offense, No. 15 on defense
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