In case you were wondering what the Buffalo Bills missed with Josh Allen out of the lineup -- and more than a few critics were quick to conclude it wasn’t much -- the rookie returned in convincing fashion Sunday.
The finishing touch on Allen’s mostly solid performance in the Buffalo Bills’ 24-21 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars was a 14-yard touchdown run that gave the Bills a 24-14 lead they would never relinquish early in the third quarter. Allen, who was back after missing four games with an injured throwing elbow, showed his usual speed, athleticism and power in fighting his way over the goal line.
Allen also had a 45-yard sprint with with under seven minutes left and his 99 yards on 13 carries gave him a BIlls record for rushing by a rookie quarterback.
The runs would have been the highlight of Allen’s day had he not delivered a couple of big throws that allowed the Bills to take a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
The first was a 32-yard connection with Kelvin Benjamin. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey -- who had called Allen “trash” in the August edition of GQ magazine and stood by his critical remarks about the Bills making him the seventh overall pick in the draft in a tweet earlier in the week -- picked up a facemask penalty on Benjamin that added 15 yards. After an 11-yard Allen pass to Jason Croom, Isiah McKenzie sprinted into the end zone from six yards.
The second impressive play from Allen’s throwing arm was a 75-yard touchdown pass to Robert Foster. It was the longest scoring throw by a Bills rookie and the team’s longest pass completion since Tyrod Taylor connected with Marquise Goodwin in 2016.
Making the completion even more remarkable was the fact defensive linemen Dawuane Smoot and Yannick Ngakuoue simultaneously crashed into Allen as he released the ball.
On the way to their second win in a row and in handing Jacksonville its seventh straight loss, the Bills showed plenty of grit and scrappiness in a game in which emotions boiled over.
During a crazy sequence late in the third quarter, the Jaguars went from what was initially ruled a touchdown catch by Donte Moncrief, to a first down at the Buffalo 1, to being backed up by penalties and ultimately missing a 42-yard field goal.
Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson and Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette exchanged blows after the play and were both ejected. Fournette’s absence through the rest of the game caused far more damage to the Jaguars’ offense than Lawson’s departure did to Buffalo’s D.
In the end, the Bills had more competent quarterbacking from Allen than the Jaguars had from Blake Bortles, who also wasn’t helped by terrible pass protection and a general lack of weapons.