We’re back, this time with our second installment of Josh Allen’s 2021 passing touchdowns. To end the previous piece, we analyzed a couple of touchdown throws against the Houston Texans. We’ll kick things off this time versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
There are a lot of things to appreciate here and I’ll go on record and call this a total team touchdown. The line gives Allen a clean pocket to work from; Emmanuel Sanders run a great route and adjusts to the long ball from Josh Allen.
There are a lot of advanced statistics that show how well Allen did under pressure in 2021. Bills fans are all like: “yeah, we know.”
You can focus on a large variety of things in any particular GIF so for this one let’s talk about feet. In particular, Josh Allen’s. He’s trying to shadow to the left side of the field along with Emmanuel Sanders, but he doesn’t need to go very far. Allen uses small, choppy steps, which let’s face it...looks kind of weird. It allows him to maintain his upper body posture, and keeps his hips in good position to throw as soon as Sanders makes his break. Throwing speed matters and Allen’s mechanics allow him to put the zip on this throw to make sure it cuts through the defenders.
Stefon Diggs lowers the difficulty level considerably for Allen and that’s a knock on precisely zero people. This is the part of the field where defenses can compress and make it harder for an offense. Diggs is wiiiiiiide open, all things considered.
Here’s another example of how arm strength can be an asset aside from the deep shots. While this roughly 40-yard touchdown certainly qualifies as a deeper throw, it’s not a shocking feat on paper. The accuracy and fact that Allen throws to Cole Beasley while scrambling is what’s noteworthy.
The pause is naturally for our discussion point on this touchdown. Allen has to be anticipating Tommy Sweeney’s route as Sweeney is by no means wide open here. Allen has to get the ball over two defenders. So just lob it, right? Allen can’t as the third defender coming behind Sweeney is closing fast. This pass is on a razor’s edge trying to beat three opponents creating two very distinct problems.
While Gabriel Davis is wide open, the Miami Dolphins are doing a good job getting pressure. Not good enough, mind you.
The Dolphins are again doing a great job getting pressure. Allen having to Matrix bend to avoid the hit speaks volumes. Also again, the pressure wasn’t enough as Allen hits Diggs for the score.
I can’t believe I’m about to type this, but the New York Jets are doing a lot of things well. They collapse the entire left side of the offensive line, causing Josh Allen to scramble. They have Matt Breida covered reasonably well, AND there’s another defender in the short part of the passing lane, AND another one coming over to help out with Breida. Josh Allen’s throw beats them all.
I’ve gone on record numerous times with my belief that it’s almost never true that one player is completely responsible for the outcome of a play. In fact I believe I coined the phrase “Only Sith deal in absolutes.” Maybe that was Obi-Wan Kenobi, actually. Regardless, it’s easy to marvel at Stefon Diggs’s catch here. It’s also valid. This is an insane effort by Diggs.
But this is a Josh Allen series, so how can we praise him? There’s a lot for a quarterback to process and if Allen throws this away he’s likely not taking too much heat for the decision. It’s third down, but Buffalo is already up by seven and the half is about to end. This should be an easy field goal. Allen is under quick pressure and doesn’t have time to scan the right side of the field.
What Allen does well here is take a 0% throw (the throwaway) and he gives it SOME chance. Only Diggs can realistically play this ball. The odds are low, but not zero. And the field goal will still be there if Diggs can’t come away with it. It’s a gamble on the touchdown, but a calculated one from a really talented franchise quarterback.