ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Even after the breakout season Josh Allen had in 2020, there were some that believed it could be a fluke and doubted his ability to repeat or build off that kind of season.
If you still think that you probably watched little to none of his games in 2021.
“Tremendous, another step in his growth this year or several steps I should say,” Sean McDermott said on his end of the season zoom call Tuesday morning.
“There were some, I’m sure questions remaining for people and I think that he’s answered all of those questions, in my mind he has at least. You’re always looking as an organization to find a quarterback that you say ‘hey you’ve got him’ and he can do it and take your team to the highest level and I believe without a shadow of a doubt Josh Allen has answered all those questions.”
In 17 regular season games, Allen completed 409 of his 646 passing attempts for a completion percentage of 63.3%, threw for 4,407 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also had 122 carries for 763 yards and six rushing touchdowns.
“It’s always funny to me when I hear people doubting Josh. If you’re still doubting him at this point I don’t know if you know anything about football,” tight end Dawson Knox said during locker cleanout zooms on Monday.
And when the stakes got higher and high during the postseason, Allen played pretty much perfectly. In the Wild Card game against the Patriots, Allen had more touchdown passes than incompletions, which basically speaks for itself. He went 21-25 for 308 yards and five touchdowns in a 47-17 win over New England. He also had no interceptions or turnovers and wasn’t sacked at all.
Then in the divisional round, one of the best playoff games in NFL history, Allen shined the brightest. He went 27-37 for 329 yards and four touchdowns showing the moment wasn’t too big for him even though the Bills came up short to the Chiefs in overtime losing 42-36.
But he’ll never give himself praise or make it about him, even if he was playing the best football of his career towards the end of the year.
“Yeah I mean, just seeing things really well, but again it takes 11 guys on that football field so those five guys up front blocked extremely well over the last five weeks, our guys made some unbelievable plays and catches, we got the running game going. We were a very, very efficient group and it was a fun group to be a part of. We were playing good ball as a collective unit,” Allen said during his season-ending zoom call Monday.
“There’s just times where you feel comfortable in the pocket and you throw a ball and at times you feel like you can’t miss because guys are getting opening and catching ball and making some great catches. We can learn from that and use that momentum going forward and I’ve got no doubt that we will.”
As far as what he proved this year? Definitely that he’s right up there with Patrick Mahomes as the two best quarterbacks in the NFL. But again, he won’t say that.
“That’s not really up for me to decide that question I guess. I was trying to be the best quarterback and teammate I can be for the Buffalo Bills,” Allen said.
Despite how well he played in that game, the Bills season ended at Arrowhead Stadium for the second straight year, this time in the divisional round. Every year teams look different in some way or another, that’s just the nature of the NFL. But good news for the Bills is many of these guys on offense should be back next season given how young this core is.
“It sucks that the season’s over but I’m excited for what this team is capable and we’ve gotta be willing to go out there and work hard and have a great offseason and try to get this thing going on next year,” Allen explained.
There were many young players who took the next step in their developments such as Gabriel Davis and Dawson Knox.
“That’s extremely promising for the future and you bring back pieces that we have right now you can’t help but get excited for the future and I know it seems pretty bleak right now but I am, I’m eager.”
It’s hard to believe Allen just finished year four in the NFL, especially since it wasn’t that long ago when the Bills were searching and searching for their next franchise quarterback since Jim Kelly retired. Every year around this time, the questions surrounding locker cleanout and the end of a season revolved around how they were going to get the right quarterback and who that might be. Those are certainly questions that no longer need asking.
“I’m extremely proud of what he’s been able to do this past season and just his growth over the years and just because you have ‘the guy’, on one hand doesn’t mean that you’re gonna get there right? But having that guy is hard to find,” McDermott said.
“A lot of GMs, a lot of teams that search high and low for that guy and I believe without a shadow of a doubt we have that player and that person. So that’s good to know and now we have to continue to move strategically around him to further our team moving forward.”
Now it’s about putting it all together in terms of having these type of performances and games from the offense as a whole more consistently than at times in 2021. It’s easy to play the “if this happened then this could have happened” game or “if they won this game then this outcome would have changed completely” but obviously, you can’t.
Finding ways to win in close, one score games will be an emphasis next year. But for now the Bills can at least rest easy in the sense that knowing the quarterback position is set here for quite some time.
“He’s an MVP caliber player and he’s shown that every game that we’ve played. He’s making incredible plays left and right, sometimes you just gotta sit back and watch the replay on the jumbotron, like did that really just happen?,” Knox said.
Look no further than the touchdown pass to Knox on the first drive of the Wild Card game where Allen didn’t even mean to throw it in the end zone, rather he thought he threw it away.
“There’s a couple plays where I’m getting to watch him run around like holy cow this dude’s my size jumping over safeties and then stiff-arming d-ends while making touchdown throws falling on the ground. He’s just an incredible dude off the field too, I mean he’s like a brother, best friend. There’s not a single person in this building that doesn’t love that guy,” Knox explained.