On the arms and legs of Josh Allen, the Buffalo Bills have beaten the Jacksonville Jaguars. In a game full of fireworks, the rookie QB set off most of them with two big plays - one with his arm and one with his legs. Here are our five takeaways form the sloppy, heated game.
Allen electric in return
The Bills’ rookie QB set the team record for rushing yards by a quarterback. It got up over 100 yards, then fell back to 99 yards after the kneel-downs. But even in addition to that, he was very good today. He made great reads and delivered passes to receivers all over the field. He found Robert Foster on a beautiful deep ball as he was being crunched. If you want to hang your hat on a game from Allen in the “franchise quarterback” debate, this was his best game of the year.
The NFL record is 39 combined penalties for 310 yards. Buffalo and Jacksonville hit 23 penalties with ten minutes left, so the record was never really in danger, but it felt like it. (Not another flag was thrown.) I’m not blaming the refs, really. There was at least one questionable call, but the vast majority of them were legit bad plays from Buffalo and Jacksonville.
The Bills run defense was in trouble for a large portion of this game, and they were gashed repeatedly by Leonard Fournette while the Jaguars scored 14 points on consecutive drives with only one pass. They were able to able to correct it, partly by getting more penetration and partly because Fournette was ejected, but it’s still struggling.
Youth movement working
Allen had a good game, helped by undrafted rookie receiver Robert Foster and second-year pro Isaiah McKenzie. On defense, Taron Johnson and Tremaine Edmunds had good days, Matt Milano had an interception, and Tre’Davious White is good at dancing. The last few games of the year are all about selling free agents on the future and building the nucleus around Allen. Buffalo may have some longer-term pieces to work with.
The fight was the turning point
I already wrote a news article on the fight that resulted in Leonard Fournette and Shaq Lawson being ejected. Here, though, we can talk about the impact. It took the Jaguars’ best player off the field. It fired up the Bills defense, who were facing the Jaguars on first-and-goal from the 1. After a stop on first down, Jacksonville scored on second down but a holding penalty backed them up. Consecutive sacks and a missed field goal and instead of being down by seven or three points, the Bills were able to drive and score their own go-ahead touchdown. It was a remarkable series of events at least somewhat built on momentum and adding a little extra shot in the arm.