For the second straight season, the Buffalo Bills had a rookie quarterback make their first career NFL start against the Los Angeles Chargers. Last year, Nathan Peterman had a historically terrible debut, tossing five interceptions in the first half before being benched, as Buffalo was crushed 54-24. This time around, Josh Allen got the nod and while the rookie threw two interceptions, he flashed the ability and potential that made NFL execs fall in love with the raw, yet talented passer out of Wyoming.
Despite an offensive line that found themselves flat out embarrassed yet again, Josh Allen performed as well as you could ask from a rookie, given the circumstances. After losing 47-3 to the Baltimore Ravens last week, it looked like they were poised to suffer another rout as they entered halftime trailing 28-3. Allen was under duress throughout the entire game, being sacked five times and hit eight more times.
Despite the constant pressure, the rookie remained calm for the most part, using his athleticism to extend plays by scrambling and shaking off additional would-be sacks. He didn’t seem rattled despite the relentless Chargers’ pass rush and the defenders even commended his effort. Star edge rusher Melvin Ingram, who recorded four tackles, 1.5 sacks and three QB hits praised Allen following the game.
“He’s a good quarterback,” Ingram said. “He’s got a chance to be special in this league. We just tried to throw a lot of stuff at him and confused him, try to get him on his heels. That’s what I feel like we did (Sunday).”
Allen did make mistakes, which is to be expected by a rookie. At times he held onto the ball too long and overthrew a few passes. Allen acknowledged this after the game, telling reporters that he needed to continue working hard to improve.
“I felt comfortable for the most part,” Allen said after the game. “There’s some things that [Los Angeles] did that we didn’t see on film, and I didn’t see on film. But that’s being a rookie. That’s the part of it. A defensive coordinator is always going to try to throw you something different and get you out of your element, and I have to do better with the pass protection. I have to be better with getting the ball out quicker.”
The highlight of Allen’s day was a 57-yard bomb to Zay Jones in the third quarter. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the ball traveled 64 yards in the air – the second longest throw since they began tracking such data.
Despite the loss, it’s difficult to place blame on Josh Allen. He did a good job spreading the ball around, as 11 different Bills caught passes, but it is going to be difficult to win games with an offensive line that performed as poorly as the Bills’ did or having the likes of Andre Holmes, Zay Jones, Robert Foster, Jason Croom, Logan Thomas as a supporting cast. Allen flashed glimpses of what the future can hold, leading Buffalo on a 12-play, 75-yard drive late in the fourth quarter that finished with him throwing his first career touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) September 16, 2018
The Bills are 0-2 with a daunting matchup ahead against the Minnesota Vikings, who are favored by a whopping 16.5 points. Buffalo may not be playing like the team that ended a 17-year playoff drought last year but for all of the team’s struggles, Josh Allen provides a glimmer of hope for the future of the franchise.