The Buffalo Bills’ offense was one of the NFL’s best in 2022 regardless of what metric you were using. They finished second in yards per game at 397.6 and points per game at 28.4. The passing attack was also prolific, racking up 258.1 yards per game which was seventh-best in the league. The heartbeat of the franchise was also cherished by the analytics community, Football Outsider’s DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) ranked Buffalo’s offense second overall and second in passing. The Bills were seventh in PFF (Pro Football Focus) overall grade at 86.6, and the 84.1 grade in passing was good enough for third. You don’t need me to tell you this, but most of that credit goes to the arm, err cannon, of Josh Allen. The signal called also dominated with his legs, not to mention he’s a captain that leads on and off the field. @UberHansen may have said it best, “This isn’t even up for debate; Josh Allen is far and away the most important player to Buffalo. The Bills go as Allen goes, and that’s a really good thing.” All the above numbers and conjecture are why Joshua Patrick Allen ranks No. 1 on our list of the top 10 most important Bills from the 2022 NFL season.
Josh Allen is at the top of the Cover 1 cumulative Top 10 Important Player rankings by earning 70 out of 70 possible points (first-place vote = 10 points, tenth-place vote = 1). Everyone that voted notched Allen into their top spot. It was a pretty simple decision for all of us, just ask @SportsRoc2 who said, “I mean…he’s Josh Allen.” The gap between Allen and Stefon Diggs, who came in second, was 18 points, or the equivalent of Von Miller and Dawson Knox, who finished in 9th and 10th, respectfully.
Whether it was with his arm or legs, the boxscore loved Josh Allen. His 35 passing touchdowns were tied with the Bengals’ Joe Burrow for second most in the league. He moves back to sixth when it comes to yards per game at 267.7. The 96.6 quarterback rating was eighth in the NFL. The former seventh-overall selection was also dominant on the ground. This team would not have gotten as far as it did without the contributions from Allen. He was 84 rushing yards behind Devin Singletary with 57 fewer carries. “He was the best passer, rusher, and scorer, and his leadership helped the team play through plenty of adversity this season,” suggested @stasetistics. Allen’s 762 rushing yards placed him third, far ahead of most of the guys he was battling in arm categories. The seven touchdowns on the ground were also the third most among QBs. Allen moves to fourth in yards per carry at 6.1.
As hard as it may be to believe, the analytics community loves Allen even more than the counting stats. Pro Football Reference gives Allen a 20 for their “approximate value.” For context, Patrick Mahomes received a 19, and Joe Burrow a 17. How about this wild stat: Allen converted 14 of his 17 3rd and 4th down scrambles into first downs, per NFL Stats and Info. That’s an 82% clip. @AjayCybluski lays it out nicely, “The Bills live and die by Josh. He is so important and can do so much for their offense with his legs and arm. Very good leader as well.”
Let’s continue to prove that statement. Football Outsiders gives Allen 1,075 YAR (yards above replacement), the fourth-highest number. He is also second overall in QBR with a 71.2. If you thought all those numbers were entertaining and provided a little confirmation bias about how amazing Allen is, just wait for these grades from PFF. They gave him the highest offensive grade of his career at 91.8, which was also the best in the NFL this season. His 85.1 passing grade was third best, behind Burrow and Mahomes. Allen’s run grade of 92.7 shoots back to the top of the list, slightly above Lamar Jackson. One of the wildest things about these passing numbers is that Allen had an aDot (average depth of target) of 9.7, which was the fourth-best, per PFF. That stat pops even further when you see that Mahomes and Burrow placed 29th and 31st, respectively. I could write an entire article about Josh Allen’s analytic wizardry, but I spare you that until the dog days of summer.
Game of the Year:
The boxscore and analytics stats differ on which of Allen’s games were his best this season. The counting stats will tell you it was the Week 15 home win over Miami. Allen passed for 304 yards and four touchdowns. He added 77 more yards on the ground on ten carries. The Wyoming product finished with a passer rating of 119.2. The analytics community loves his Week 18 performance in a win over New England. PFF rates it his best overall game (93.5) and his best passing game (93.2). His aDot (average depth of target) was 14.9, the highest of the regular season.
Josh Allen signed a massive and much-deserved, contract extension before the 2021 season. According to Spotrac, the QB inked a six-year, $258,034,000 contract with the Buffalo Bills, including a $16,500,000 signing bonus, $150,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $43,005,667. They go on to say that in 2023, Allen will earn a base salary of $27,500,000 and a workout bonus of $500,000, while carrying a cap hit of $39,772,281 and a dead cap value of $77,289,124. According to our Cover 1 cap guru @GregTompsett, Allen is a prime candidate for a contract restructure this offseason. Greg believes there is the potential for the Bills to open up $21,200,000 on the salary cap with this move heading into 2023.
Vorse’s Final Take:
Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Joe Burrow are the three most important players in the NFL. I don’t care what order you put them in, but that is the list, and I will fight you if you disagree. The fact that the Bills have one of those dudes is amazing and sets them up for success for the next decade plus. I know you and I have trouble even fathoming making a quarter billion dollars, but to be honest, that contract is going to be a steal for Buffalo in the coming years. Once players like Burrow, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Trevor Lawrence and a few others exit their rookie contracts, they will drive Allen down the list. It isn’t unthinkable that at some point Allen’s deal isn’t top ten in average annual value. “Allen is everything to this offense. At times, when it felt like the play call was ‘Josh Be Awesome,’ he usually was,” said @LowBuffa and he is correct. The Pegula family, Brandon Beane, Sean McDermott, and everyone associated with the Buffalo Bills franchise sleep better because they have Josh Allen.