Life is pretty good for Josh Allen thus far in the 2020 NFL season. The third-year Buffalo Bills quarterback has his team off to a 2-0 start. Additionally, he has broken through two individual statistical barriers.
All these years later, fans of the AFC East team think they might just have their successor to Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
Buffalo Bills fans have been waiting for the next Jim Kelly
Unless you’re the San Francisco 49ers and get to sub out Joe Montana with Steve Young, replacing a franchise quarterback isn’t easy. Buffalo Bills fans have more than two decades of evidence supporting that reality.
The Bills of the 1990s were a near-dynasty. And despite talent on both sides of the ball, quarterback Jim Kelly was their unquestioned leader on the field. Kelly’s entire 11-year NFL career was with the Bills, and he threw for 35,467 yards and 237 touchdowns in a Hall of Fame career that included four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl.
Kelly retired after the 1996 season after throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, which hardly tarnished his body of work. In fact, that final season looked downright productive compared to the work of some of Kelly’s successors from 1997 to 2017.
Oh, sure, there were some decent signal callers along the way, including Drew Bledsoe (2002-04), Ryan Fitzpatrick (2009-12), and Tyrod Taylor (2015-17). But none struck fear into the hearts of opposing defenses or lasted very long. And some of the others along the way – J.P. Losman and E.J. Manuel come to mind – were duds.
The Buffalo Bills still haven’t found their next Jim Kelly, but Josh Allen is on the job now. And in Year 3 of his pro career, Allen looks as though he is just what the Bills need.
Josh Allen looks ready to step up
The Buffalo Bills made Josh Allen the No. 7 selection of the 2018 NFL draft. He was taken behind No. 1 Baker Mayfield and No. 3 Sam Darnold — but before No. 10 Josh Rosen and No. 32 Lamar Jackson.
Rosen’s rookie season showed some promise with 10 touchdowns but 12 interceptions in 11 games. Last fall was a step forward with 20 TDs and just nine interceptions to get the Bills back to the playoffs. He showed himself to be adept and aggressive on his feet those first two seasons with 1,141 rushing yards and 17 scores.
Still, questions remained about his passing touch and decision-making. Bills fans weren’t about to dump him, but they may have been wondering this spring whether there was a way to start angling for Clemson star Trevor Lawrence in 2021.
The doubts have subsided for now and perhaps permanently. Allen has the Bills off to a 2-0 start. He began the 2020 season with a long-overdue first career 300-yard passing afternoon against the New York Jets. In Week 2, he upped the ante with a 415-yard day vs. the Miami Dolphins.
Let’s be clear: The Jets and Dolphins will not be mistaken for the Monsters of the Midway and the Steel Curtain. But Allen’s numbers thus far are superb: 57-for-81 accuracy, 729 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions. His passer rating through two weeks is 122.9.
Josh Allen finished NFL Week 2 in style
Josh Allen threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns on Sept. 20 as the Buffalo Bills went on the road to defeat the Miami Dolphins, 31-28. He celebrated afterward by running to the edge of the field and hurling a football high into the stands.
It was no random, spur-of-the-moment act. Allen had a target in mind. He was throwing the ball to his parents, who were among the approximately 13,000 fans allowed to attend at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens under the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Mom got the ball. The quarterback got a message from her in return: