They’re all juggernauts, until they’re jugger-nots.
Josh Allen and the Bills were dominated by the Bengals 27-10 on Sunday, another playoff run ending short of the AFC championship game. Allen’s promising season might be behind them, but he was at the forefront of the Bills’ issues in their divisional round loss.
Allen was off target and under duress for most of the afternoon, resulting in a poor overall performance: he finished with 25-of-42 passing, 265 yards and an interception. On the surface, that doesn’t seem so bad, but 48 of Allen’s passing yards came in the Bills’ garbage-time drive that ended with an interception.
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Allen entered the fourth quarter with 159 yards on 15-of-27 passing, while the Bengals held a 24-10 lead. He finished the quarter with 10 completions in 15 attempts, with his last throw the game-sealing INT.
Needless to say, the performance, especially in big moments, didn’t sit well with some — including Allen’s No. 1 target, Stefon Diggs.
Stefon Diggs yelling at Josh Allen on the sideline after the 4th down incompletion. 🤣 pic.twitter.com/jQMg4qp2r5
— FTB (@anotherFTBacct) January 22, 2023
MORE: Stefon Diggs embodies Bills’ frustration with yell to Josh Allen, rapid exit after loss
Consider, too, that the Bills’ offense was largely negated by a strong Bengals pass rush, which mostly nullified the long-developing routes and deep average depth of target of the Buffalo passing game. Allen also held the ball for an extremely long time while sticking largely to the game plan, almost to a fault:
Joe Burrow limited the effectiveness of the Bills pass rush with quick passes; the opposite held true for Josh Allen and the Bengals pass rush.
Time to Throw vs Pressure Rate:
🔸 Burrow: 2.50 seconds, 21.6% QBP
🔹 Allen: 3.20 seconds, 39.5% QBP#CINvsBUF | Powered by @awscloud pic.twitter.com/1Eq8IGsYbg
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) January 22, 2023
The loss wasn’t all on Allen, though. Consider that he was the Bills’ leading rusher in a snow-covered Highmark Stadium, with 26 yards. Devin Singletary added 24 while James Cook added 13, for a grand total of 63 rushing yards. For comparison, the Bengals had 172 rushing yards, leaning heavily on Joe Mixon (20 carries, 105 yards).
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For how much focus there is on the Bills’ passing game, they had just a single game in 2022 in which they didn’t eclipse the 100-yard mark on the ground — their Week 18 win over the Patriots.
On the other side, the Bills’ defense couldn’t stop a hot Joe Burrow, allowing the Bengals’ offense to rack up 412 yards. That was just the third time the Buffalo defense allowed over 400 this season.
Still, Allen has the appreciation of his head coach, who praised his grittiness.
“Sometimes we try to do too much overall. We all have to grow from this and right now, just being in the moment, this stings, like I said. Josh is a heck of a competitor, as you guys know,” Sean McDermott said after the game. “I’ll take him any day of the week on our football team, and I love how competitive he is.”
Competitiveness is one thing, but the productivity has to match it. For at least one afternoon, it didn’t.