The Buffalo Bills will be spending time out of state this week to hold joint training with the Carolina Panthers. This will lead us to the second game of the 2019 preseason as the Panthers host the Bills this Friday. Before we turn our attention to this upcoming contest though, we have a bit of unfinished business from last week’s game versus the Indianapolis Colts. How did Josh Allen do?
The Bills opened up the game with an attempt at a big play. Josh Allen launched the ball to Tommy Sweeney and looked to have overthrown his target. Noting the ball changing orientation in the GIF, we see it was a near miss with Sweeney getting his fingers on the ball. The flag on Khari Willis is seen in the clip, but what’s not is the significant tugging Willis did on Sweeney’s uniform. This is a case where the evidence clearly suggests the penalty did in fact impact the outcome of the play. Add in Josh Allen’s poise and his first pass may be his best.
We see Sweeney appears to be the second target for Allen. For his two drives, Allen seemed to have been asked to stick to single reads or half-field scans. There were several instances where Allen progressed to his second option and seemed to do so quickly enough to work within the pocket he was given.
Only in Buffalo could a checkdown be considered “exciting.” At least with the Allen-led offense. The Bills seemed focused on getting Allen to consider higher percentage plays. This half-field read starts off to Allen’s left. Not liking what he sees, he finds Frank Gore for the quick dump off with pretty good awareness of the play timing.
The Bills had a fair amount of shorter throws worked in—often with timing based passes. Allen acquitted himself fairly well with these. As this was an area of relative weakness for him last year, this is excellent news for Bills fans.
It was far from a perfect evening for Allen however. This play was selected as it was one of the more controversial passes as far as who fans wanted to blame. The answer, as the case often happens to be, is that both parties share the guilt on this one.
Zay Jones dropped a catchable ball and what may have been a touchdown. Allen delivered the ball to Jones’s hands, which suggests Jones shoulders the blame. The weight shift on the second angle shows Jones adjusting to the pass. His momentum left is disrupted and the new direction of travel makes it harder to maintain balance. The pass is only a bit behind where it should have been but it’s enough to raise the difficulty a good amount. Jones takes his eyes off the ball and—due to all of the above—it’s a drop.
Despite there only being a handful of passing attempts, Josh Allen had several misfires. An overthrow to Zay Jones, a drastically underthrown ball also to Jones, and an underthrown ball to John Brown is a longer list than you’d like to see in one quarter of football.
It’s the preseason so take everything with a grain of salt or ten. Allen struggled with ball placement and accuracy issues, which unfortunately remain his largest obstacles to success. It’s hoped that increased time with his receivers will help develop chemistry and alleviate some of these concerns, but it’s hardly a given.
There were plenty of encouraging signs, too. Allen had some very accurately delivered passes. The young quarterback also demonstrated consistent poise, remaining patient even when his pocket was shrinking or a hit was on the way. Allen also displayed good decision making, taking what the defense was offering him as well as scrambling only when necessary. It was an up-and-down night but, in many respects, Allen seems to be picking up what the coaching staff is trying to instill.