Josh Allen has been both successful and inconsistent to start his NFL career.
It’s hard to argue with the results and the statistics. Allen doesn’t have the prolific stats that other young quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes have totaled in the last two years, but the Buffalo Bills have been a winning franchise with Allen at the helm.
Still, Josh Allen’s mixed success on the field meant he set an embarassing record in his first two seasons. But while the record is an ugly one, does it truly reflect poorly on Allen? Let us explain.
Josh Allen has had a mixed first two years in the NFL
A 6-foot-5, 237-pound quarterback who played his final college years at Wyoming, Josh Allen entered the NFL as the seventh overall pick in 2018.
Allen started 12 games in his rookie year and completed 52.8% of his passes for 2,074 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. The dual-threat gunslinger added 631 rushing yards on 7.1 yards per touch and eight rushing touchdowns that year.
Allen’s second season, now featuring veteran running back Frank Gore and dynamic rookie Devin “Motor” Singletary, went much better.
Allen completed 58.8% of his passes for 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Pro-Football-Reference credited him with four fourth-quarter comebacks and five game-winning drives.
Buffalo went 10-6 and reached the postseason for the second time in three years. Houston defeated Buffalo in the first round of the AFC playoffs, however.
Allen set an embarrassing record in those two seasons
The 2010s brought upon an era of prolific passing the NFL had never seen before.
In years past, quarterbacks rarely reached 4,000 passing yards or 40 touchdowns. Those that did, the Dan Marinos and Peyton Mannings of the world, were top-3 quarterbacks if not the best active player under center.
Consider this statistic. Only five quarterbacks passed for over 4,000 yards in 2010; three others, including MVP winner Tom Brady, finished within 100 yards of joining the club.
Eleven quarterbacks reached that total in 2019 and three others — Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, Houston’s Deshaun Watson, and San Francisco’s Jimmy Garpoppolo — were all within 200 yards of joining the 4,000-yard club.
All of this is relevant because Josh Allen, as effective as he is, has not been a dominant passer. There have been 36 quarterbacks who started at least 10 games in the last two seasons.
Thirty-five of those quarterbacks passed for over 300 yards in one game. Josh Allen, whose single-game high for passing yards is 266, is the exception.
Does that record truly reflect poorly on Josh Allen?
A quarterback starting 27 games in two seasons and never hitting 300 passing yards would have been acceptable in 1970. The same can’t be said in 2020.
While the record is an embarrassing one, it also doesn’t reflect too poorly on Josh Allen. The Bills have a unique offensive system that focuses heavily on the running game and gadget plays.
If Josh Allen is winning games — he’s 15-12 in two seasons — and keeping Buffalo in playoff contention, him reaching 300 yards in a game isn’t a priority.
The Bills have shown in Allen’s two seasons they can win without him taking over with his arm the way Patrick Mahomes does. An AFC title game matchup between the two young quarterbacks could be coming in the next few years at this rate.
All stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference