Josh Allen reached for his right elbow after his forearm was bent backward in the crossfire of a strip sack on the Buffalo Bills’ final drive in their loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.
As if it weren’t bad enough the Bills fell to 6-2 and 0-2 in the AFC East after their 20-17 defeat to the Jets at MetLife Stadium, Allen’s elbow could be a major concern moving forward.
“There’s some slight pain, but I’ll get through it,” Allen said after the game, in which he scored two rushing touchdowns in the first half, but finished 18 of 34 passing for 205 yards with two interceptions.
The Bills franchise and loyal fanbase will surely keep an eye on Allen’s arm and the progress he makes in practice this week before Buffalo’s next game at home against the Minnesota Vikings (7-1).
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“As far as I know, he’s still being evaluated,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said of Allen after the game.
Back to the bigger picture for the Bills: Allen nearly had three interceptions against the Jets, and it was a discouraging performance when you consider he had two interceptions in their lackluster second half in a win against the Green Bay Packers last week.
The Jets relied on running backs Michael Carter and James Robinson, who each scored a touchdown, to control the ground game with 124 of the Jets’ 174 rushing yards, while Jets starting quarterback Zach Wilson was 18 of 25 passing for 154 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers.
“We were playing a good team here and your quarterback plays like (expletive),” Allen said of himself, quite succinctly.
“I made some bad decisions tonight and it cost us.”
Allen was the frontrunner for the MVP in USA TODAY Sports’ staff survey, but his performances may have opened the window for others like Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, whose team is still undefeated at 8-0, and QB Patrick Mahomes, whose Chiefs trail Buffalo in the AFC playoff standings.
The team that looked so invincible against the defending champion Rams in the season opener and dominant in five of their first six games – including wins over the Chiefs, Ravens and Titans in the AFC playoff mix – has hit a bit of a rough patch.
The Bills, who won the AFC East the last two seasons, dropped their second division game on the road after losing in Week 3 to the Dolphins in Miami.
The AFC East is the only division in football with all four teams above .500. The Bills are 6-2, the Jets and Dolphins are 6-3 with 2-1 records in division play, while the Patriots are 5-4 and 1-1 in the division.
That’s not great for Buffalo, but it’ll visit the Patriots in New England on Dec. 1 and host all three of their divisional opponents in Buffalo in December and January.
That’s the real home field advantage for the Bills, and why it’s fair to pump the breaks on overreacting about their play against the Jets and Packers.
“We hate losing in our division. That’s huge. But our division isn’t the same division that it used to be,” Bills star receiver Stefon Diggs said.
“We got some good teams. Moving forward, we get to play those guys again. … We have to get back to being us.”
After their last two postseason appearances ended with losses to the Chiefs, the Bills have Super Bowl aspirations and are still one of the best teams in the NFL.
How Allen’s arm progresses this week and for the rest of the season will determine how much the Bills can truly achieve in 2022.
“The good thing is everything we want is still in front of us,” Allen said.
Allen’s next throw after Jets defensive lineman Bryce Huff knocked the ball out of his hand wasn’t encouraging. The pass traveled about 27 yards before falling at the feet of his receiver at the first-down marker.
Allen’s final throw of the game may have been more encouraging. Although it was broken up by Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner, Allen’s incomplete pass traveled 69.3 yards down the field, according to Next Gen Stats.
Diggs hopes his team can maintain a positive approach moving forward.
“(Allen) had a couple bad plays. What’s a couple bad plays to 30, 40 good ones? He made some good throws. We just have to continue to build off of it and stay positive,” Diggs said.
“My quarterback is the best quarterback, and he’s going to come out on top. He’s going to shake that.”
Story Credit: usatoday.com