Position grades: Josh Allen adds to all-purpose place in NFL history


Staff member

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen added to his all-purpose place in NFL history in Sunday night’s victory in Miami.

Allen posted his ninth career game with 300 or more passing yards and 50 or more rushing yards, now the most ever for an NFL quarterback. Allen had been tied at eight games with Hall of Famer Steve Young. Allen passed for 359 yards and ran for 67.

“I felt like the ball was coming out of my hands the best all year, so that’s a good thing,” Allen said. “But, again, just gotta be smarter with the ball.”
Allen also produced at least two touchdowns for the 16th straight game, tied for the second-longest such streak in NFL history.

His season total of 44 combined touchdowns (29 passing and 15 rushing) were six more than the next closest QB (Dallas’ Dak Prescott had 38) and they were second-most in his career. Allen had 42 combined TDs in 2022 and 2021 and he had 45 in 2020.

Here’s a position-by-position grading of the 24-14 Bills victory, based on video review and scored on a scale of 0 to 5:

Quarterback (4.5). It’s a high grade despite the fact Allen threw a bad interception on the opening drive and cost the team a field goal on the final play of the first half by not throwing to the end zone.

“Obviously right before the half, we get stopped right at the 1-yard line, and that’s one of those situations where it’s got to be in the end zone, or it’s got to be incomplete or out of bounds,” Allen said. “So I took away three from us there. I took away three from us the first drive of the game.”

Allen thought the second interception, deep to the end zone after being flushed from the pocket, was less egregious.
“The fourth-and-2 pass,” he said, “I’d rather, honestly, take that than throw it out of bounds, give someone a chance in that situation.”

His great throws included the 36-yarder to Stefon Diggs and the 29-yarder down the left sideline to Dalton Kincaid. The 15-yard scramble was epic, with 225-pound Jerome Baker and 310-pound Christian Wilkins bouncing off him. Allen rushed for 67 yards and 38 yards after contact. He had four scrambles for 51 yards and 11 designed runs.

Offensive line (4.5). Missing his top two edge rushers, Miami defensive coordinator Vic Fangio opted to get more aggressive. Allen and the offensive line handled it reasonably well. Miami blitzed 16 of 45 dropbacks (35%), well up from Fangio’s season-long rate of 19.5%.

On blitz plays, Allen was 9 of 13 for 170 yards with one TD, one interception and two sacks, according to Buffalo News charting. His 15-yard scramble also beat a blitz.

Miami’s Wilkins was great. He beat O’Cyrus Torrence to the outside for a sack and forced a fumble. Wilkins had six pressures and stopped three runs. Connor McGovern and Mitch Morse did a good job against Miami’s other excellent defensive tackle, Zach Sieler. Miami didn’t get much heat without blitzing on the edge against Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown, who did well against Emmanuel Ogbah.

Receivers (4.5). Kincaid’s ability to exploit matchups was big. He was too quick on underneath pivot routes against Baker, the linebacker. He got quick separation on safety DeShon Elliott on a key third-and-3 catch in the fourth quarter. The Bills worked to get Diggs open. Miami tried to have top corner Jalen Ramsey travel with him a bunch. But the Bills put Diggs in motion a lot, and three of his seven catches came out of the slot. It was nice to see the Bills complete a go-ball down the sideline for a change (the 36-yarder vs. Eli Apple). Khalil Shakir had five catches out of the slot. Gabe Davis’ nice block sprung him for a 46-yard screen pass.

Running backs (2.5). The final numbers didn’t look great, but credit the Bills with staying two-dimensional and not letting Miami get into an all-out blitz kind of game. James Cook’s drop in the end zone was costly. Cook had some good blitz pickups. Leonard Fournette blocked outside, not up the middle on an all-out blitz on which Baker caused a third-quarter sack.

Defensive line (4.0). Greg Rousseau was superb at the point of attack vs. the run and had three hurries. DaQuan Jones caused four run stops. Von Miller did little again. On De’Von Achane’s 25-yard TD run, guard Robert Hunt was able to get a good reach block on Poona Ford. That was the first problem. Then Liam Eichenberg blocked Terrel Bernard on the second level. That was all the speedy Achane needed. His cut upfield was too fast for Jordan Poyer, but there may not be any safety in the league who could have stopped Achane at that point.

Linebackers (4.0). How much did head coach Sean McDermott respect Miami’s team speed? He blitzed on just one play. Miami’s speed and misdirections gave the linebackers fits, as expected. Fortunately, the Bills’ offense controlled the ball, which kept Miami from sticking to the ground game. Bernard made a good stop on a fourth-quarter draw run. Baylon Spector made a second-down run stop in the hole with 12:40 left and earlier stopped Achane on a screen pass.

Defensive backs (5.0). Micah Hyde’s third-down pass breakup against Tyreek Hill with 6:22 left to force a punt was one of the underrated plays of the game. It was the first time all season Miami punted on four consecutive drives. Taron Johnson made a first-down tackle for loss with 13:42 left by defeating a double team block and running through receiver Braxton Berrios. Typical tough play by Johnson. Christian Benford showed his ball skills on the early INT. He gave up a TD to Hill on a quick out on the goal line, almost impossible to stop. Dane Jackson made a sure tackle in the open field on Berrios on a third-down pass to the sticks to force a punt. With 12:17 left, Jackson had tight man coverage on a cross for Cedric Wilson and broke up the third-down pass. Taylor Rapp almost had an INT on the play before his game-clinching pickoff with 1:13 left.

Special teams (5.0). Deonte Harty’s punt return for a touchdown arguably was the second-most significant in team history, behind only the 74-yarder for a TD by Butch Byrd in the 1965 AFL Championship Game. It was the 26th punt return for a TD in team history.