To the naked eye, Josh Allen’s2 018 season was unimpressive. He played 12 games, started 11, and only threw 10 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. If it wasn’t for the unfortunate, Josh Rosen, Allen would have finished dead last in passer rating among qualifying starters. In his rookie campaign, he’d go 5-6 as a starter. Disappointing for a guy that had the second-ranked defense backing him up on Sundays.
But for those of us watching – really watching – Allen’s season had many impressive flashes. When Buffalo traded up to draft Allen with the seventh-overall pick of the 2018 draft, the Bills knew they were getting a project. The intention would be to sit Allen and let him learn as much as possible prior to unleashing his raw athleticism. Unfortunately for Allen and the Bills, it took all of one half for Nathan Peterman to play his way to the bench. The rookie out of Wyoming would take over early in the third quarter of a week one blowout that saw the Baltimore Ravens crush Buffalo 47-3.
Allen may have not won many games in his first season, but he did win the trust and respect of his teammates. On more than one occasion he’d show he was willing to lay it all on the line for them. Hurdling instead of sliding was just one of those ways.
Had Allen been allowed to sit and learn, 2019 would essentially be his rookie season. He’d have 16 games to make rookie mistakes. One beautiful hurdle could make fans forget about the fact that you ranked 32nd in total yards passing for the season. A 135-yard rushing game against Miami would have analysts talking about how gifted you are as an athlete, rather than how big of a bust you are for your 82-yard passing game against Tennessee. That won’t be the case this year. If the Bills defense is anything close to what it was last year and Buffalo fails to post a winning record or make the playoffs, the fingers will begin to point – and they’ll be pointing directly at Allen. Gone are the days where quarterbacks are given years to develop. It’s win today, or leave tomorrow.
The Bills will open the season on the road facing quarterback Sam Darnold and the New York Jets. While the two quarterbacks who were drafted just four picks apart say it’s friendship first, rivalry second, the Bills Mafia hope it’s anything but friendly come kickoff. The Jets are currently favored by two and a half points.
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