No 300 game, but Allen is still rolling

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) looks to pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y (WIVB) — Here’s one tiny scrap of bad news for Bills fans in the wake of Sunday’s 30-23 victory over the Raiders:

Josh Allen failed to become the third player in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns in the first four games of a season (only Steve Young and Peyton Manning have done it.)

Allen finished with ‘only’ 288 yards passing and two TDs in the victory, which lifted the Bills to 4-0 on the season. One can assume that resilient Buffalo fans will find a way to get beyond this statistical failure. 

The team’s young franchise quarterback remains on a record pace through the first quarter of the 2020 season. Allen is on pace to break virtually every significant passing record in franchise history. 

Through four games, Allen has completed 105 of 148 passes (71 percent) for 1,326 touchdowns, with 12 TD passes and one dubious interception. 

He is on pace for 5,304 passing yards, nearly 1,000 ahead of Drew Bledsoe’s record of 4,359 set in the 2002 season. Allen is second in yards to Dak Prescott of the Cowboys, who threw for 502 yards on Sunday in a loss to the Cleveland Browns. 

Prescott is on a ridiculous pace of 6,760 yards. Peyton Manning holds the NFL record for passing yards in a season with 5,477 for Denver in 2013. Manning and Drew Brees are the only quarterbacks to pass for more than 5,300 yards in a season.

Allen is on pace for 48 touchdown passes. Jim Kelly set the team record of 33 in 1991. Remarkably, no other Bills has ever passed for more than 26 TDs in a season. Joe Ferguson had 26 in 1983. The last Bill to pass for 25 TDs was Kelly back in 1989. 

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs with the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)

Clearly, the NFL has become more of a passing league over the years. Russell Wilson leads the NFL with 16 TD passes through four weeks. At that rate, he would smash Manning’s record of 55, set in 2013.

Allen is on pace for 420 pass completions, which would break Bledsoe’s record of 375 in that memorable 2002 season. Bledsoe set the team record of 610 pass attempts that season. Allen is currently on pace to toss 592 passes over 16 games.

At his current pace, Allen would become the first Bills quarterback to complete 70 percent of his passes in a season in which he attempted at least 50 throws. Kelly Holcomb completed 67.4 percent of his 220 passes in 2005. Kelly’s best was 64.1 in 1991. 

Not surprisingly, Allen is trending to have by far the best single-season quarterback rating in Bills history. Allen’s rating is 122.7 through four weeks. Kelly holds the Bills record with 101.2 in 1991. Aaron Rodgers set the NFL record of 122.5 in 2011. 

Allen is averaging 9.0 yards per pass attempt, second in the NFL to Seattle’s Wilson. The Bills’ record in an NFL season is 8.2 by Kelly in 1990. Daryle Lamonica averaged 8.9 a pass and Jack Kemp 8.5 in the AFL in 1964, when long passes were more commonplace.

Remember when Josh couldn’t complete a pass down the field? He averaged 6.5 and 6.7 yards a throw in his first two NFL seasons. His improvement on his longer throws has been astonishing. 

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

He’s also been remarkably careful with his throws. With one interception on 148 attempts, Allen has an interception percentage of 0.7. Tyrod Taylor set the Bills’ record of 1.0 in 2017, and Taylor was renowned for taking very few risks with the football. 

One more esoteric but significant statistic: Allen, who ran for a touchdown against Las Vegas, has three rushing TDs on the year. That’s a combined 15 touchdowns passing and running, a pace for 60.

No quarterback has ever had 60 combined TDs in a season. Peyton Manning had 56 (with one rushing TD) in 2013. Manning won the MVP award that season, beginning the active run of seven straight quarterbacks to win it. 

So if people are placing Allen on the short list for MVP this year, there’s a good reason.

Jerry Sullivan is an award-winning digital reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2020. See more of his work here.

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