Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is on a fever pitch already chasing NFL greatness, the likes of which few, if any, ever truly sniff. Of course we’re talking Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and his all-purpose touchdowns total over the first five years of his career.
Following a Week 12 performance against the Detroit Lions where he threw two touchdowns and ran for a third on Thanksgiving Day, Allen now trails only Marino for the most total touchdowns all-time in a player’s first five seasons. Allen’s total sits at 163, with plenty of games and opportunities to meet and surpass Marino’s all-time total of 171 before the end of the regular season. But it won’t come easy, with Allen struggling through an elbow injury and a mid-season slump — which may or may not be related to said injury.
There are a lot of stats and accolades for players at every position to chase, but this one is fairly significant. Certainly, Marino did almost all his damage with his arm. He was the antithesis of a mobile quarterback, instead relying on his laser-quick release thanks to a surgically precise and compact throwing motion. An incredible total, Marino threw 168 touchdowns while appearing in 71 games over his first five seasons. He added three rushing scores over the same span.
Allen, conversely, has found success in all three phases of offensive scoring — as either a passer, runner, or even as a receiver. He’s thrown 126 touchdowns in 72 appearances to date. Where Marino doesn’t touch Allen is as a triple-threat quarterback. Allen already has 36 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. Allen defies logic as a runner and receiver — part fullback and part tight end, he plays faster and more aggressively than nearly every current player at both positions.
While Marino will always be mentioned in any conversation about the greatest NFL quarterbacks, Allen may one day earn a spot at the same table. Soon enough, the only thing left for Allen to do will be joining the NFL greats in winning a Super Bowl. But that victory will not belong to Allen alone. It’s a celebration decades in the making, spanning several generations of Bills fans, and long before Bills Mafia was even a thing. Though before that can happen, Allen must once again put the team on his shoulders to position them for a deep run in the playoffs—and that means plenty of touchdowns by 17.