Despite the Buffalo Bills having their best record after 10 games since 1991, Josh Allen remains a lightning rod for controversial opinions.While the decisive victory over the Dolphins may have eased some fears over his long-term viability, there are still some who wonder why his season stats are still near the bottom of the league in most categories. Let me answer that in three words: New England Patriots.
Allen's worst game of the year -- by far -- came against the Patriots. In that game, he went 13/28 (46.4%) for 153 yards (5.46 Y/A), 0 TDs, and 3 INTs for a passer rating of 24.0 before being knocked out of the game with a concussion. Because this is still a relatively small data sample, these game stats have acted like a boat anchor on Allen's season stats. This is especially true for the interceptions as 3 of his 7 on the season came in that one game. When we subtract out the stats, it's easy to see just how much of an effect the one game had:
Season stats: 191/317 (60.3%), 2,175 yards (6.9 Y/A), 13 TDs, 7 INTs, passer rating = 85.4
Stats w/o NE: 178/289 (61.6%), 2,022 yards (7.0 Y/A), 13 TDs, 4 INTs, passer rating = 91.8
"You can't just take out his stats in one game! They are what they are!" That's true, but that also ignores what the Patriots are doing to opposing QB this year. Here is what they have allowed:
180/336 (53.6%), 1,526 yards (4.5 Y/A), 4 TDs, 19 INTs, passer rating = 46.1
The Patriots' defense hasn't just been good this year, that's bordering on historic. The next-closest team this year -- the 49ers -- are holding opposing QBs to a passer rating of 67.9.
This shows how hard it can be to compare QB stats around the league. In baseball, each team will face all of the other teams during the season, so any bias toward one particularly hard opponent -- or even a particularly easy one -- gets washed out because all hitters have a fairly equal chance to face those same hard/easy pitchers. In football, a QB won't face more than 13 different opponents during the season, with a heavy bias toward the teams within their own division. The Patriots have only faced nine different opponents so far, so those nine starting QBs have had their stats affected heavily compared to the QBs who didn't have to face them, with only Lamar Jackson faring well so far.
I see a passer rating of 85.0 as the "Mendoza Line" for QBs -- the bare minimum for someone to remain a starting QB. Anybody who can't consistently stay above that mark year after year isn't likely to remain a starting QB. Because this is still a fairly small data sample, the amount of statistical damage that one game can do to Allen's overall stats is easy to highlight. A passer rating of 91.8 would actually put Allen above both Tom Brady (90.1) and Philip Rivers (90.6) right now, neither of which has had to face the Patriots defense this year.
Playing against a lot of below-average defenses may be helping to prop up Allen's stats, but that one particular game does more than its share to offset that.
Editor's note: This has been promoted from the fanpost section with no edits.