By Heather Prusak // @haprusak
About the Author: Heather Prusak is a sports anchor/reporter for WGRZ in Buffalo. She has spent the past five years covering the Bills in her hometown after graduating from Syracuse University.
Those names are all too familiar to Buffalo Bills fans as a reminder of their failed attempts to find a franchise quarterback, one of the main factors in a team sustaining success in the NFL.
GM Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott traded up to draft Allen seventh overall, and in his 20 career starts, Allen has shown flashes of being that guy. Flashes.
The Bills didn’t draft him that high to simply be a game-manager.
One of the things that stood out about Allen leading up to the draft was his “cannon” of an arm. McBeane (McDermott and Beane) raved about Allen being a big-armed quarterback especially playing in the kind of weather Buffalo gets (cue the jokes about it always snowing in the 716).
But seriously, that’s a big deal, a strength they saw. But this year it’s been anything but.
While Allen made some big-time plays last season, this year he’s struggled, not even struggled…failed, to hit a deep ball. He’s 0-16 on passes that travel more than 30 yards through the air which is now a concerning trend.
After misses on a few of those in last weekend’s loss to the Cleveland Browns, Allen expressed his fear of maybe underthrowing those passes and having them intercepted. He hasn’t thrown a pick in four straight games but at the same time, he can’t play scared. This may be what prompted McDermott to tell him to play “fearless” ahead of their week 11 matchup with the Dolphins in South Florida.
That should be music to Bills’ fans ears. It sounds like this offense will be much more fun to watch based on that comment, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Allen launches a few more of those deep ball attempts. I had a lot of people on twitter respond to those comments on twitter with #FEARLESSJOSHALLEN.
That’s the fun Josh Allen. That’s the Josh Allen this franchise needs. Those big-time plays.
Now while Allen has had issues in this area, he has improved in others. His short, intermediate game is much better this season, and he still demonstrates that dual-threat with his ability to extend plays with his legs.
So far this season, Allen has sixteen touchdowns (ten passing, six rushing) and seven interceptions. Two of those rushing touchdowns came against the Browns last week.
The Bills are 6-3 and looking for their second playoff appearance in three years which is a big deal considering in McBeane’s first year in 2017, they broke a 17-season playoff drought.
They’re in a great position to make the postseason again but there’s still a lot of football left this year. In order to make the postseason, the offense has to find its groove. They can’t rely on the defense every game and putting up just 19.3 points per game is only going to get you so far in this league.
Their defense has carried them plenty of times, now it’s up to the offense to start holding up their end of the bargain. To do that, they can’t play recklessly. They need to play fearlessly.
Talk football with Heather on Twitter // @haprusak