ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Some of Josh Allen’s flashiest highlights have been the result of risky decisions.
The Buffalo Bills quarterback’s only touchdown in the 22-16 overtime loss to the New York Jets came on a throw to wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the back corner of the end zone as Allen ran 17.3 mph, the fastest speed on a touchdown pass since 2016, per NFL Next Gen Stats. Allen was just 0.7 yards from the sideline when he released the pass.
The score showcased Allen’s skill set as a playmaker. On the flipside, Allen’s competitiveness and drive to make “wow”-type plays can hurt the team as well. In the loss to the Jets, Allen turned the ball over four times, including three interceptions. He leads the league in turnovers since 2018 with 84.
A couple of days removed from the game, Allen said on Wednesday that he needs to prioritize when he is taking risks with tight throws.
“It’s the double-edged sword of, I get away with it a lot of the times and sometimes I don’t and sometimes it hurts us,” Allen said. “So, just knowing when and where to do it and when not to do it … Year 6 in this league and I should know better when to do that. And now I gotta, like I said, gotta go out there and I gotta prove that.”
Allen finished the game 29-of-41 for 236 yards and one touchdown pass. He was sacked five times.
Three of Allen’s four turnovers came in the second half, with drives ending in an interception on pass intended for Diggs (who had double coverage near the end zone), another on a throw intended for wide receiver Gabe Davis with multiple defenders nearby, and then a fumble by Allen on a snap from center Mitch Morse.
The Bills did get points on the board in the half, ending the fourth quarter with a field goal to force overtime, but a 13-3 halftime lead evaporated in part because of Allen’s choices.
“It gets back to, as Josh and I have discussed, being a great decision-maker, that not only means where you throw the ball, but also what you do when the ball’s in your hands just overall and living to play another down,” coach Sean McDermott said on Wednesday. “… I know he has that ability. I’ve seen him do it.”
Improved decision-making extends to making sure the quarterback is not taking unnecessary hits as a runner, as Allen did several times in Week 1.
“That’s probably later in the game, if something, if we needed a first down or needed something, that’s when you kind of can do a little bit extra,” Allen said on when he should take the risk.
The next test for Allen comes quickly with the home opener against the Las Vegas Raiders (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
“I’m not gonna let it affect me going forward,” Allen said. “As a quarterback in this league, the best ones are able to kind of put this behind them, but take away lessons from it, but not let it affect how they play the next game in a negative way.”