Is Josh Allen an elite quarterback?
The Buffalo Bills have been bounced from the AFC Divisional round for the second straight year, and a lot of fingers are pointing at the QB, Josh Allen.
It’s the Monday after the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, and after the Bills got knocked out of the playoffs a game short of the AFC Championship for the second straight year. Josh Allen has found himself in the cross hairs of criticism after Buffalo’s 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Allen’s MVP odds drop
Before Week 1, Josh Allen was was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the NFL MVP. Well that’s not entirely true. He was +700 to win the award, the same as Patrick Mahomes. Tom Brady sat behind them at +800 odds, and Aaron Rodgers and Justin Herbert were just behind him.
For a long time Allen was keeping up with Mahomes in the MVP race. His dazzling mix of pin point accurate passes, and spectacular scrambles had him featured in Sports Center’s Top 10 week in and week out. They won seven of their first eight games and he was setting the pace for the race for the MVP.
They then had a midseason slump where they lost two in a row, and Allen was largely responsible after throwing a couple costly interceptions against the Jets and the Vikings, and who could forget that inexplicable fumble in the end zone to open the door for a Minnesota comeback. The Bills overcame their two game losing skid, winning their final six and clinching the AFC East for the third straight year.
Is Allen another Marino?
As harsh as it might sound, this is what Josh Allen might be: A fantastic regular season quarterback who can’t get it done in the playoffs. There have been quarterbacks who have had careers like that in the past. Think of Dan Marino, or Phillip Rivers more recently. Both were stat stuffers in the regular season. Rivers was a fantasy football dream, and Marino would have been so too if fantasy football was around in his day, but neither made that necessary leap in the postseason.
If you are going to question Allen, you have to question some of his performances in big games. Regular season Josh Allen has led the Bills to four postseasons in his first five years in the league, only failing to reach the playoffs in his rookie year. Since then he has gone to four straight postseasons, but have reached the AFC Championship just once. That run to the conference title game came in 2020 when the Bills were an up and coming force in the AFC. Their trip to the “final four” of the NFL was somewhat surprising as the Bills were drifting under the radar, but their push to the Super Bowl was cut short by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs despite Allen’s 287 yards and two touchdowns.
Last year the Bills met Mahomes and the Chiefs again, this time in the Divisional Round and you can’t chalk that loss on the Bills QB1. Allen went for 329 yards and four touchdowns after throwing for five touchdowns against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Allen did everything humanly possible to win that game against the Chiefs, the only thing he didn’t do is run the clock down enough before throwing his final touchdown of the game. After leaving 13 seconds on the clock, the Chiefs went down and kicked a field goal to send the game to OT and then won it with a Travis Kelce TD on the first possession.
Bills come up short in Buffalo
This year, with the spotlight on him and the expectations sky high Allen sputtered through the post season. In the Wild Card round game against Miami, you would have expected Allen and the Bills to crush the Dolphins with a rookie third string QB in. After going up 17-0, Allen started to show some cracks wall. He threw two first half interceptions to breath new life into the Dolphins, and then an early second half strip sack for a Miami TD gave their division rivals the lead for the first time. In the end, he shook the mistakes off and led his team to victory with two touchdown passes in a day where he was 23/39 for 352 yards, with 3 TDs and 2 INTs.
Cincinnati wasn’t as forgiving as the Dolphins were. The Benglas went up 14-0 before the Bills took their fourth snap of the game. Allen led just one TD drive all game. It came in the second quarter as the Bills QB dinked and dunked his way down the field and extended the drive with his legs, but after the TD, the offense shut down. Allen finished the game going 25/42 for 265 yards and an INT as the Bills ended the game with a three and out, a turnover on downs and an interceptions on their final three possession.
Now he has to go though the offseason knowing that he did not play like the Josh Allen that we all expect to see on these big gamedays in the 2022 NFL Playoffs. Let’s make no mistake, he is a fantastic quarterback capable of making jaw dropping plays, but when it comes down to it, the Bills QB has not won games that you have to win to be considered an elite quarterback. Until he does enough to get through the AFC and lifts his team to the Super Bowl, and if by some chance brings Buffalo their first Lomardi Trophy, you can’t put him in the same category as a Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes.