Way back in May, when football seemed so far away, Buffalo Rumblings sought to project what kind of stats we could realistically hope to see from Josh Allen in year two. If you recall that article, we took data for quarterbacks in the last ten years who had 50 or more passing attempts in each of their first two seasons. Yadda yadda math—the end result was a bunch of charts covering five quarterback measurements. Since it’s the bye week, let’s plug in Allen’s year two stats (so far) to see how he compares to those projections.
Reading the charts
Click through to the original article for the full run down, but here’s the quick refresher. Each chart has Allen’s year-one performance to the far left. The far right is the best-case scenario based on an actual thing that happened. Between those we have the projection average, which is the exact average amount of change added to Josh Allen’s year-one performance. Bordering those are min and max projections, which represent the borders of “normal change” (one standard deviation from the mean). The only change from the original charts is the inclusion of Allen’s second-year stats.
Yards per game
If you think Josh Allen has improved in year two here’s our first compelling bit of evidence for that. The average quarterback in our data set increased their yards per game roughly 20 yards. Allen has increased his yards per game by over 50. To temper that a little bit, he’s still within what the model would consider normal, but this is a great start.
Yards per attempt
Yards per attempt is tricky because there’s a wide range of variability in what’s considered normal change. Josh Allen is above the exact average projected but not by a whole lot. There’s a little growth in this area, but not enough to write home about. Just enough to write to you about it.
EEEEEEEK! This isn’t good at all. Josh Allen has increased his interception percentage. This stat is simply the percent of passes that are intercepted. Up is absolutely the wrong direction. Just like we tempered the yards-per-game stat, it should be noted he’s still within the normal amount of change. With only five games into the season as well, there’s a higher chance of the stats being skewed. For example, if we used his interception rate from last year and projected how many he would have based on this year’s number of passing attempts, it would project one less interception. This is one to keep an eye on, but it’s not panic mode yet.
There’s not much to discuss here is there? Allen has performed exactly the same as last year when it comes to the frequency of passes that go for touchdowns. The offense hasn’t been lighting it up exactly so the gut reaction here is that if there’s any change it will be to improve.
I like to end things on a high note. Most of the charts have typical growth or (yuck) regression. Our best-case-scenario quarterback for improvement in completion percentage was Christian Ponder, who increased just shy of 8%. So far Allen is exceeding even that, which would have certainly qualify as the “wildest dream” that the projections had.
Overall, through five games Josh Allen is moving in the right direction as a passer from a statistical perspective. Stats aren’t for losers, but they’re not the only assessment. The “eye test” has shown a much-improved passer who has made strides in footwork and decision making among a slew of other attributes.
Allen isn’t done yet, as there’s at least 21 other quarterbacks who can boast better stats in every single measure we looked at above. But even with that bad news the Buffalo Bills are winning in 2019. And to leave with one last ray of hope, fans know exactly which throws have been holding Allen back. The jury may be out on “if” Allen will make the necessary adjustments, but his current issues are all problems that can be corrected.