Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen felt like a light went on in his head in his fifth start last season, against the Houston Texans. And Allen admits his first NFL start against the Los Angeles Chargers was a “baptism by fire.”
Those were two interesting observations Allen made in an interview with former NFL quarterback Chris Simms for NBC Sports’ “Chris Simms Unbuttoned” video feature. The 18-minute show can be found on NBCSports.com and on NBC Sports’ Youtube channel.
Allen acknowledged he was soiling his pants, so to speak, in the Week 2 game against the Chargers, who blitzed him relentlessly. Chargers rookie safety Derwin James had a sack and a QB hit in the game, which Los Angeles won, 31-20.
“Did not know where my hots were,” Allen told Simms. “It was bad news. They were bringing Derwin James off the end and he got to me a couple times.”
“After that game, I kind of sat down with Dabs and we went over everything and making sure I knew my protection rules, I knew where my hots were, if there was a hot built in,” Allen said, referring to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. “We kind of based it upon ourselves and not really what the defense was doing, but just trying to be right on our end.”
“That was my first start,” Allen said. “I was trying to change the protection. I said different words than what they actually meant and what I actually meant to say. The line was all discombobulated. It was all my fault, and there was nothing I could do about it. It was just kind of one of those baptism by fire deals.”
Four weeks later, the Bills were in a tight game with the Texans, down 10-3, late in the third quarter, when Allen hit Kelvin Benjamin for a 39-yard gain over the middle. But Allen got hit on the elbow on the play, which caused him to miss the next four games.
“I think it took a couple weeks for things to settle down for me,” Allen said. “I think that Houston game, I was making plays on third down with my feet, the ball was coming out really nice.”
“That ball that I threw to Kelvin Benjamin over the middle on the play that I got hurt, it just came out so smooth,” Allen said. “I saw it. It was Cover 4. I knew to take it over the top, it was a good fake, I got my head around, and at that point I was like all right, I think I got this down.”
“Literally a split second later, that’s when the elbow happened. Obviously we got to have D.A. and Matt come in,” he said, referring to Derek Anderson and Matt Barkley. “I go to learn from them, and that helped out a lot. But I think going back to that Houston game, that’s kind of when I was like, OK, I can do this.”