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Josh Allen unspectacular in two series in Bills' preseason opener

Vic Carucci

Josh Allen pretty much looked like a quarterback playing his first game of the preseason Thursday night at New Era Field.

It was an unspectacular showing in two series of the Buffalo Bills' 24-16 victory against the Indianapolis Colts.

And some of it appeared to come down to the fact Allen entered the game a bit too hyped. At least, that was what coach Sean McDermott saw.

"I thought he was a little fired up early, a little (too much) heat on the ball maybe," McDermott said.

[Jay Skurski's Observations: Bills guard Jon Feliciano takes his turn at center in preseason win]

Allen, who completed six of 11 passes for 66 yards and had a passer rating of 72.5, agreed with his coach's assessment.

"Absolutely," he said. "My heart was racing for sure. I love football, I love being back out there. We had a great fan base out there. The adrenaline was definitely flowing."

In the first series, Allen completed two of five attempts for 17 yards. On one pass, he badly overthrew Zay Jones. On third down, he threw another pass intended for Jones into the ground to force a punt.

Allen said he wished he "could have had that throw back."

"I saw it was man, I just tried to put it a little low so the (defender) couldn't get over the top on it and just put it a little too low," the quarterback said.

As usual, the most impressive element of Allen's game was running. Facing pressure, he converted one third down with an 8-yard run. Allen also connected with Cole Beasley for a 13-yard gain.

In his second series, Allen converted a third down with an 8-yard completion to Jones. After missing badly on a sideline route to John Brown, he came right back with a 23-yard connection with a wide-open Jones on a crossing route. Allen converted another first down with a 10-yard throw to Brown.

"Overall, I thought he took what the defense gave him at times," McDermott said. "He hit Cole underneath a couple times (although the first was wiped out by a holding penalty). He hit John Brown in the red zone, so it was good to see him using some of the new pieces."

"It's the preseason, obviously, so just trying to find a grove, trying to get on the same page as some of our new receivers here," Allen said. "At the end of the day, it's still football, seeing an open guy and throwing to an open guy. But definitely getting to see body language and to see how our guys set up their routes against somebody that's not on our defense, that we don't get to see every day."

Jones dropped a pass near the goal line as safety Khari Willis was closing in to make a hit that sent Jones to the locker room for evaluation for a head injury. The drive ended with Stephen Hauschka bouncing a 34-yard field-goal attempt off of the left upright.

The fact Allen came out with a pass-happy attack wasn't what the Bills had planned.

"We just wanted to go out and put some drives together," Allen said. "I think they kind of did a little different of what we thought they were going to do on defense, and we just kind of adjusted accordingly. They kind of went post high and played some man and just wanted to see our guys make some plays. And they did."

Matt Barkley took over at quarterback for the Bills' third series, and his performance should have reinforced the team's confidence that its backup job is in competent hands.

"That's important, right?" McDermott said. "A lot of people don't place a lot of value maybe or they overlook that position until you need it. So it's important that Matt is sharp and I thought he was that (Thursday) night, for the most part."

Josh Allen unspectacular in two series in Bills' preseason opener

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