The hype for Josh Allen was off the charts at the start of the 2022 NFL season. The Bills were poised to be the league’s top contender for Super Bowl 57. Allen, coming off a second consecutive big year, was heralded as the favorite for NFL MVP.
And through the first six weeks of the season, there was little reason to doubt the hype. He completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,980 yards with 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He had rushed 47 times for 257 yards and two more touchdowns, although with five fumbles.
But his season has unraveled as of late.
He had a poor performance in a 27-17 win against the Packers in Week 8: a 52.0 completion percentage, 218 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. In a 20-17 loss to the Jets in Week 9, he completed 52.9 percent of his passes for 205 yards, with no touchdowns and two picks.
Things didn’t get much better Sunday against the Vikings. While he completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 330 yards, he only had one passing touchdown and threw two costly red-zone interceptions and lost a fumble that was recovered for a Minnesota touchdown in the final minute of regulation.
MORE: How the Vikings won an overtime thriller over the Bills
Allen has long had turnover issues, but his recent problems have cost his team games. The odds of him being named MVP get longer with each turnover.
What has gone wrong for Allen? The Sporting News dives into the numbers.
What’s wrong with Josh Allen?
The first reaction would be that he played hurt Sunday. He was questionable for most of the week with an elbow injury and was a late decision to start.
Does Allen think the elbow impacted his play at all? The answer he gave after the contest was quick and to the point: “No.” So that can be ruled out.
Part of the issue is simply decision-making. Allen admitted that his first interception, a pick to Patrick Peterson, was the result of him trying to make something happen on fourth-and-2.
“No sense in taking a sack or throwing the ball away, (tried) giving somebody a chance,” Allen said.
Patrick Peterson with an end zone INT @P2
— NFL (@NFL) November 13, 2022
The second interception, Allen said, was just a “bad ball. Bad decision.” It, too, went to Peterson and ended the game in OT.
— NFL (@NFL) November 13, 2022
MORE: Justin Jefferson makes one of NFL’s greatest catches to help spark Vikings’ OT win
Those types of throws have become all too commonplace for Allen the past three weeks. ProFootballFocus had not released data from Sunday’s game by the time this article was published, but against the Packers and Jets, Allen made seven turnover-worthy throws combined. Prior to the Packers game, he had made 10 all year, with six of them coming in Week 3 against the Dolphins.
Allen has always been mistake-prone. He has never had a season in which he had fewer than 22 turnover-worthy plays. The only time he had fewer than even 27 was in 2018, when he had a career-low 396 dropbacks as a rookie (his second-fewest dropbacks in a season came in 2019 with 595, and in both 2020 and 2021 he had more than 760).
But this run of turnover-worthy plays in bulk is new. The games against the Packers and Jets marked only the third time in his career he had back-to-back games with at least three turnover-worthy plays. If PFF gives him at least three against the Vikings, which certainly seems likely given his three turnovers, then he would hit three straight for the first time in his career.
MORE: Should Gabe Davis’ on Bills’ game-tying drive have been called incomplete?
And, according to Pro Football Reference, this is also the first time in his career he has thrown at least two interceptions in three straight games.
— Pro Football Reference (@pfref) November 13, 2022
These plays are coming in the worst spots on the field. With two more on Sunday, Allen now leads the league with four red-zone interceptions, according to Stathead. His first one came against the Packers and his second came against the Jets.
The Bills’ season is far from over. They’ve dipped into third place in the AFC East and sixth in the AFC playoff picture, but this remains one of the most loaded teams in the league.
Still, Allen needs to turn around this troubling trend of turnovers. They’ve played a major role in costing the Bills wins. If he continues to make bad passes and fumble away the ball, then Buffalo will have a hard time reaching its Super Bowl aspirations in a deep AFC.
“Comes down to my shoulders and my shoulders only, making the right decisions, making the right throws,” Allen said. “Putting our best foot forward in practice. This one’s going to suck watching. Only way’s forward. We’ve got to find a way to put this behind us and not let it affect our next one.”