GLENDALE, Ariz. (WIVB) — Josh Allen won over a lot of people during Monday night’s rousing 34-24 win over the 49ers. That included Rainn Wilson, the actor who played Dwight Schrute on “The Office.”
Dwight was assistant to the general manager on the show. The job didn’t involve evaluating football players. But after seeing Allen light it up on national TV, Wilson tweeted “@JoshAllenQB is my second favorite quarterback.”
That caused quite a stir on Twitter. Josh Allen retweeted it. Some Bills fans, of course, wondered why Allen was only his second-favorite. After all, it’s hard to imagine any QB having a better night than Josh did against San Francisco.
Allen completed 32 of 40 passes for 375 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He finished with a 139.1 quarterback rating, the second-highest of his career behind the 146.7 he posted against Miami earlier this year — when he had 415 passing yards, four TDs and no picks.
The Bills are 9-3, still one game up on Miami in the AFC East. They finished their third “quarter” of the season with a 3-1 record. If not for that remarkable Hail Murray with two seconds left in the Arizona game, they’d be riding a six-game winning streak into next Sunday’s home game against the no-longer-unbeaten, 11-1 Steelers.
So with a quarter of the season left, this is a good time to update the pertinent team statistics. It’s been a far more enjoyable exercise than it was during the years when the Bills battled to 7-9 finishes and routinely finished in the bottom five of the NFL in most meaningful passing stats.
Allen is 299-for-428 passing for 3,403 yards (69.9 percent), 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He is now fourth in the NFL in completion percentage (a staggering 11.1 percent over a year ago). He’s fifth in passing yards, tied for sixth in TD passes and seventh in QB rating.
He has already achieved a new career high in passing yards and completions for a season. Allen is on pace for 4,537 yards, which would break Drew Bledsoe’s franchise record of 4,359 in ’02. He’s also well ahead of pace to break Bledsoe’s record of 375 completions in a season.
Allen is back on pace to break Jim Kelly’s team record of 33 touchdown passes. He’s on schedule for 35. He has three games of 300 yards and four TDs this season. That breaks the previous record of two such games in a season, shared by Kelly and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Remember when a 300-yard passing day was a rare thing in Buffalo? The Bills went 83 games without a 300-yard passing performance in regulation, from the last game of 2014 through the 2019 season. Allen has six of them this season. Kelly had six in 1991. Bledsoe holds the team record with seven 300-yard games in 2002.
It helps to have good receivers, of course, and the Bills have as good and deep a group as any in the league. Twelve different Bills have caught at least one TD pass (including Allen), the most of any team in the league.
Stefon Diggs has been everything the Bills expected when they sent a first-round pick to the Vikings for him. Diggs went over the 1,000-yard mark on Monday. He’s now tied with Keenan Allen for the NFL lead with 90 catches. He’s fifth in receiving yards with 1,037.
Diggs should surpass his career highs in receptions (102 in 2018) and yards (1,130 in 2019). He’s well ahead of pace to break the team record for receptions. Eric Moulds had 100 in 2002. Only two Bills have ever caught over 90 passes in a season. Moulds had 94 in 2000. Peerless Price had 94 in 2002. Andre Reed’s high was 90 in 1994.
Cole Beasley has been a revelation since coming to the Bills last season. Beasley has six 100-yard receiving games in his last 16 outings. He had a total of two 100-yard games in his seven seasons with the Cowboys.
Beasley took full advantage of the Niners’ weakness at slot corner on Monday. He had nine catches for a career-high 130 yards. He had a career high of 113 receiving yards in the first half alone. Beasley has a couple of 112-yard days on his resume, including 11 for 112 against the Jets in October.
On the season, Beasley has 66 catches for 797 yards. He’s 18th in the NFL in catches, 20th in receiving yards. He should easily snap his career highs for catches (75) and yards (833), established in Dallas in 2015.
Beasley has a good shot at 1,000 yards, which would give the Bills a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in the same season for the third time in franchise history.
Moulds and Price did it in 2002. The other 1,000-yard receiving duo was Hall of Famers Reed (1,113) and James Lofton (1,072) in 1991, the year the Bills set the team record for points in a season with 458.
This Bills team is on pace for 444 points, which would be the second-highest in franchise history. They can score points, and it’s remarkable how they’ve shared the scoring load this season.
Thirteen different Bills have scored a touchdown this season. Amazingly, rookie Gabriel Davis leads the team in TD catches with five. Oddly enough, the Bills haven’t scored a defensive touchdown since the 2017 season.
Let’s face it, they’re overdue.
Jerry Sullivan is an award-winning digital reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2020. See more of his work here.