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Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen Has Strong MVP Case

  • Jack McKessy
  • December 31, 2021
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Three and a half weeks ago, there was a lot of uncertainty about where the Buffalo Bills were headed. The New England Patriots were surging and had just taken care of the Bills on a windy night in Buffalo to win their seventh straight game. The loss meant Buffalo dropped to two games behind the Patriots for the lead in the AFC East. Last Sunday, the Bills had their chance for revenge, and Josh Allen was not going to let that chance pass him by without a win. It was a performance that should put him squarely in MVP conversations. He hasn’t been in the league long, so it’s weird to call Allen’s performance in New England “vintage,” but that’s what this game felt like from him. Even with receivers Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis missing after they both tested positive for COVID-19, Allen lit up the Patriots secondary. He threw for 314 yards on 30-of-47 passing, tacking on three touchdowns and no interceptions. A big part of Allen’s success was the ability to take what New England’s defense was giving him, especially without his normal starting receivers. The result was no dumb plays and no turnovers. What really elevated Allen’s Sunday outing was what has elevated him as a quarterback his whole career: he can run. In fact, it was the quarterback’s legs, not his arm, that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll went to on fourth down with the game on the line. The Bills don’t have the strongest running back tandem as it stands, so their quarterback’s ability to run—and run well—has been a big factor for them this season. He was the team’s leading rusher in five games entering Sunday, and he made it six against the Patriots. His 64 yards on the ground along with his big passing day made his performance in New England his fifth game with 300-plus passing yards and 50-plus rushing yards, the second-most such games by any quarterback in his career. It’s one more than Michael Vick and Russell Wilson, and it’s just three short of Steve Young’s record of eight. Allen is 25 years old. The Wyoming product is a very special quarterback, and sometimes it can be easy to forget that when his team is having its share of struggles. This hasn’t looked like the same Bills team that went 13-3, swept the Patriots in the regular season, and made it to the AFC Championship just last year. But Sunday’s win over the Patriots in New England put the Bills back in the driver’s seat in the AFC East, and it may just have been the biggest win of Allen’s career. If the NFL’s MVP award truly goes to the Most Valuable Player, it’s hard to say Allen doesn’t fit the bill (pardon the pun) perfectly. His most recent showing reminded anyone watching why he was worthy of a top-10 draft pick. For one, he’s an incredible passer. The ball comes out of his hand like it’s attached to a rocket, and his 4,048 passing yards put him at seventh in the league and ahead of reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers. He’s also third in the league with 34 passing touchdowns behind just Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford. For two, his abilities as a rusher have been crucial for Buffalo in many of their wins this season. He’s got the third-most rushing yards of any quarterback this season behind Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts, and if we add his rushing touchdowns to his passing total, he jumps up to second in the NFL in total scores by a quarterback. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers both have rushing attacks that can work well without their quarterbacks. Tampa Bay and Green Bay still can win games if their quarterback has an off day. But Buffalo needs Allen to elevate their offense both in the air and on the ground; he’s indisputably their most valuable player. Two more big games against the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets would likely bring Allen and his team their second consecutive AFC East title. They’d also bring the quarterback some serious consideration in the MVP race.

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Jack McKessy