Good luck reading into the Buffalo Bills’ 31-6 dismantlement of the New Orleans Saints with the Saints missing 14 starters. The blowout win on Thanksgiving Night did, however, shine a spotlight on the two directions this season can still go for Buffalo.
The offensive line isn’t very good. The running game was a tick better. But, at this point, the 2021 Bills clearly will go as far as Josh Allen takes them.
In the first half, the $258 Million Dollar Man did not play well with back-to-back interceptions. That Allen will undoubtedly struggle against Bill Belichick’s defense in the Bills’ two games still to come against the Patriots. That Allen won’t scare defenses in the playoffs.
In the second half, Allen looked like an NFL MVP. He finished the night with four touchdowns and 260 yards on 23-of-28 passing, spreading the ball out to all of his weapons.That Allen is capable of throwing everyone on his back and advancing deep into the playoffs.
So, which is it?
The Bills’ identity is clear. There’s no turning back now. They are a pass-first team with issues in the trenches. The Bills are likely hoping Allen gets hot into December and they can avoid Jonathan Taylor, Derrick Henry and Lamar Jackson into January.
Even back to our two-part series that launched Go Long, I don’t think we’ve ever opened up the Josh Allen debate here in the “Discuss” forum, so let’s do it as we all gnaw at leftovers.
Who is the real Josh Allen? How far can he carry the Bills?
I think BOTH are the real Josh Allen. When he has decent protection and has answers and gets into a rhythm, he’s a killer. When protection is poor and defenses have a good game plan for him — usually involving a mix of good coverages and post snap rotations — he gets flustered and starts to press, forgetting his mechanics and hurrying his reads and throwing inaccurate balls.
The big question, as I see it, is can he find a way to overcome those moments where he “loses his zen”? Can we play Elvis in his helmet radio all game long?
lets hope we get the two injured/covid guys back and Cody Ford can go back to the bench
It's an old story, but the offense is only going to be as good as the line.
if you give Allen time, at least one of the talented receivers will create enough space to showcase his talent
Going to record a new Go Long Pod ep soon with Jim Monos and old pal, Matthew Fairburn, who covered the Bills at the Athletic and now covers the Patriots. If you have any questions for them, feel free to fire away here and we'll get it them.
I think we can definitely expect Bill Belichick to force Josh Allen to take short-to-intermediate completions in zone underneath. He'll sit back with his two safeties and count on getting pressure without blitzing (Judon's been great) and it'll be on Allen to stay patient, accurate and throw with some anticipation. The deep, 1-on-1 shots won't be available.
It's been a mixed bag for Allen this season vs this approach. I know Kurt Warner caught some heat for his comments in our series a year ago, but it rings pretty true right now. Pasted some below:
“If you’re playing against three good defenses,” Warner says, “and you think you’re going to make enough plays ad-libbing to beat them, it’s probably not going to happen.
“So when I say, ‘What is your ceiling?’ I want to know: How complete can your game be? Not how athletic you are and how far that can take you. But how complete can you be — Can you see your hots? Can you understand protections? Can you throw the ball away when you need to throw the ball away? Can you make the tight throw when you have to? Can you read and process to your third and fourth receiver consistently when a team takes away your 1 and 2? Can you make the lay-ups? … It’s always more mental when a guy reaches his ceiling and a guy continues to get better and better and better. It’s not because they’re getting better physically. It’s because they’re getting better mentally. And that’s what we want to know: What is your ceiling Josh Allen, in terms of your mental ability to process and understand everything from technique to reading coverages to making the throws to making the right decisions?
“That, to me, becomes the ultimate question with this new-era of quarterback. How long can they sustain what they’re doing to have their statistical success before it’s going to have to adjust? And if they do or if they don’t will determine how long they play in this game and at that level.”
(That full Part 2 is here, too: https://www.golongtd.com/p/part-ii-the-pressure-is-on-josh-allen)
I was at the game, so maybe I missed something, but how is the second INT being put on Allen. At the dome, the replay looked like Allen’s arm was hit on the pass. Wouldnt that make it more on OL? Also, if his lineman dont drift downfield the play before, that INT is erased and another TD is thrown on. Two plays where OL directly impacted stat line