Lots to like, but week one hardly flawless for Allen, Bills

The Bills Report

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Josh Allen won’t have to talk about the 300 yard gorilla in the room anymore.

It took until the very last of his career high 46 throws, but when Dawson Knox made a heckuva catch on a excellently thrown ball, Allen had the first 300 yard game of his NFL career. If you count the playoffs, 300 yards came in Allen’s 30th NFL appearance.

Allen didn’t have to be superhuman to throw for 300 yards. Most of his game was executing the offense. Making smart decisions. Using the myriad of weapons Brandon Beane has assembled.

The Bills made it look easy in the first half. The first two scoring drives covered 137 yards in only 13 plays. They faced a third down only once in both possessions combined. Allen started by completing his first seven throws and was 20 of 26 at the half.

Offense was coming so effortlessly that, late in the first half, one Jets reporter in the press box asked “Do the Bills even have a punter?” To which the reporter next to him answered, “They didn’t activate him for this game.”

Give Brian Daboll a ton of credit. It was a superb gameplan, but Allen was the one who had to make it go. John Brown gave Allen the props for changing the play that led to his second quarter touchdown.

“We seen the coverage and it was a great play call. He made the right call at the right time,” Brown said.

Most of his first half throws were short and seemed to be a secondary read. Even a few “dreaded” check downs. That’s fine. Sean McDermott talked all offseason about Allen taking what the defense gives more often. There’s so much talent on this Bills offense, the defense has to give a lot.

Allen can just play within himself and rack up three bills. He also has the freedom to do damage with his legs. Sunday’s final tally was 57 yards, a touchdown and few more embarrassed defenders wondering how their grasp only corralled air.

The negatives were still there with Allen, too. He lost fumbles in the red zone. Twice. He overthrew a wide open Brown by five feet in the end zone. Twice. It would be nice if the boundaries of Allen playing “within himself” did not always include the facepalm level mistakes.

Although the Bills steamrolled the Jets in the first half, this game had a whiff of last year’s slow play wins in the second half. Buffalo never found the end zone and scored six points after halftime. Too often in 2019, Buffalo would build a 10-14 point lead early and coast home courtesy their defense. That formula went down in flames against a playoff caliber team in Houston.

Sunday’s game would have looked better had rookie Tyler Bass not missed two semi-chippy field goals in a nasty enough Orchard Park win. Even without another second half trip to the end zone, 33-17 feels a whole lot more convincing than 27-17.

Between the fumbles and the missed field goals, the Bills wasted four trips to the red zone. They can get away with that against the Jets, who might be weeks (or hours) from firing their head coach. But, it ain’t gonna work against the teams they hope to face in January.

There’s plenty of time to get all this fixed. This is only week one and week one after no preseason games. It was a perfect time to play what might end up being the easiest game on the Bills schedule.

This Bills season can’t just be about toying with a division weakling. Bills fans expect more and this team deserves more. This season should be about going to places the Bills haven’t been in decades or maybe even places where they’ve never been.

One of those places got crossed off the franchise bucket list Sunday. The Bills helped take Josh Allen to 300-Ville.

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