Josh Allen is just four games into his NFL career as a starter, and Sunday accomplished one of the things every franchise quarterback must do: Lead a fourth-quarter comeback.
Allen did just that in the Buffalo Bills’ 13-12 win against the Tennessee Titans at New Era Field, getting his team in position for a 46-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka as time expired.
“I was extremely confident,” Allen said of the Bills’ final possession, which began at their 25-yard line with 4:43 remaining after the Titans had pulled ahead, 12-10. “I actually felt like I was too relaxed.”
Allen knew that the Bills needed to reach the Titans’ 35-yard line to get into Hauschka’s field-goal range, meaning he had to go at least 40 yards.
“I wasn’t nervous, wasn’t anxious about anything,” Allen said. “Just really saw the plays in front of me.”
The running game did the bulk of the work, but Allen made a couple of clutch throws, converting a third-and-3 with a 13-yard completion to LeSean McCoy and then getting to the Titans’ 33-yard line with a 7-yard completion to rookie receiver Ray-Ray McCloud.
“I trusted my gut and my instinct,” Allen said. “I got the ball out a little quicker today, and our offense did a great job of protecting.”
The final drive covered 47 yards in 11 plays, with eight of those coming on the ground. That stayed true to what the game plan was coming into the game.
“We decided we were going to run the rock,” Allen said. “Coach (Brian) Daboll told me, ‘We’re going to put it in our linemen’s hands,’ and they did a really good job.”
Allen gave the standard answer about not caring what his final stats looked like, which you’d expect after a game he finished 10 of 19 for 82 yards and one interception. He also ran four times for 19 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown run on a scramble in the first quarter.
There were definite issues with accuracy at times, but Allen said, “For the most part I was on. There were a couple of throws I wish I could have back that would’ve made it easier.”
The Bills will gladly work on correcting those mistakes after a victory.
“We won the football game, No. 1,” coach Sean McDermott said. “That’s the goal. … We’ve got to continue to grow and evolve and hopefully, at one point, we can develop the balance that’s so important.”
Allen has now made two starts on home turf, and McDermott said he sees his rookie quarterback “getting more and more comfortable with the stadium.”
“The look in his eye, he was, in my opinion, very in control of the situational football that was going on. He played what I would consider a smart game for the most part.”
Before the game, a report on ESPN said the Bills were planning to sign veteran quarterback Derek Anderson on Monday. McDermott said after the win that “nothing’s final at this point.” Anderson is familiar with McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane from their time together with the Carolina Panthers. He also was with the Cleveland Browns in 2009 when Daboll was the team's offensive coordinator.
If Anderson does indeed come on board, Allen’s all for it.
“For sure. I really haven’t seen all of the reports and I’m not really sure what’s going on, but I’m welcome to any help,” he said. “I’m not going to turn any help away, for sure. I know there is a lot of things for me to improve and grow on and that comes with repetition and that comes with an extra set of eyes maybe sometimes, too. To break and sit me down on the sideline and just tell me what he’s seeing and how he’s handled a situation since he’s been there before, I’m excited and definitely welcoming to that offer.”