After Josh Allen was selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills didn't exactly get praised for their pick, but nearly two years later, it's a pick that's absolutely starting to pay off for Buffalo.
When all facets of Allen's game are working, which hasn't happened often, he's nearly impossible to stop, and they were all working during the Bills' 37-20 win over the Dolphins. One of Allen's biggest issues in his career has been his accuracy, but that definitely wasn't a problem in Miami as Allen completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 56 yards and another touchdown.
The story of this game though was Allen's accuracy -- it was on point for all four quarters. Allen showed off an array of throws with his most impressive one coming in the second quarter -- he hit a streaking John Brown down the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown. To complete a pass like this, you don't really have any margin for error, and you have to throw an absolute laser, and that's exactly what Allen did.
That 40-yard score was one of nine catches in the game for Brown, who caught nine passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
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Allen's second touchdown pass to Brown was much shorter, but equally impressive. With just over 10 minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, Allen iced the game with a nine-yard pass to Brown that he snuck between two defenders.
Last season, there's a 50 percent chance Allen throws a pick with a pass like that, but this season, he looks much more comfortable making challenging throws in tight windows. Allen has a much arm strength as any quarterback in the league and his accuracy looks to be improving every week, which could make the Bills a tough out come playoff time.
The win over the Dolphins on Sunday was arguably the best game of Allen's career. The Bills quarterback totaled 312 yards, which was the third-highest total of his career. He also totaled four touchdowns -- the second-highest total of his career. Basically, Allen has the tools to be the total package, he's just never quite put them together, and based on his performance against the Dolphins, it seems that he's inching closer.
Sure, Allen's performance came against the Dolphins, but remember, this is a defense that shut down the Colts last week and shut out the Steelers during the first half of a game two weeks ago. Allen might not be mentioned in the same breath as the top tier quarterbacks in the NFL, but you know what, he's slowly creeping up to that level.
Josh Allen has now tallied five consecutive games with 2 TDs/0 INTs, becoming the first QB since Russell Wilson in 2015 to do so.— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) November 17, 2019
Allen joins Wilson, Aaron Rodgers (2014), Peyton Manning (2012), Tom Brady (2012) and Drew Brees (2011) as the only QBs to do so since 2011.
If the Allen that showed up in Miami on Sunday shows up every week for the rest of the season, the Bills might need to import some extra foldable tables to the city, because there's a chance that Allen might lead them to their first playoff win since the 1995 season.
Buffalo 37-20 over Miami
|Josh Allen wasn't the only one for the Bills who put on a show, so did Buffalo's defense. After watching Ryan Fitzpatrick lead the Dolphins to two straight upsets, the Bills never gave him a chance to get going on Sunday. The Bills terrorized Fitzpatrick for four straight quarters in a game where they totaled seven sacks, and the most impressive part is that those seven sacks came from eight different players. The Bills also got a much-needed rebound game from kicker Stephen Hauschka, who missed two field goals last week against the Browns. This week, Hauschka hit all seven of his kicks (three field goals, four extra points), including a 51-yarder in the first quarter.|
|The Dolphins got off to a slow start in this game, falling behind 13-0 early in the second quarter, and they really had no shot at coming back due mostly to the fact that their offense was completely overmatched by a Bills defense that sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick seven times. The two biggest highlights of the game for the Dolphins came from their special teams. Not only did the Dolphins recover an onside kick, which marked just the second time that an onside kick has been recovered in the NFL this year, but Jakeem Grant also returned a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. |
Indianapolis 33-13 over Jacksonville
|Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is likely going to be taking some heat for sending Gardner Minshew to the bench for Nick Foles after this loss. In his first start since Week 1, Foles struggled big time. Although he did lead the Jags to an early touchdown, the Jags just couldn't get anything going with Foles under center. The Jags had eight possessions in this game that lasted five or fewer plays, including four three-and-outs. Of course, the Jags' biggest problem in this game wasn't their quarterback, it was the fact that they couldn't stop the run. The Jags surrendered 264 yards on the ground, which is tied for the fourth-highest total they've ever given up in franchise history. As for Foles, despite his absence, he still seemed to have some serious chemistry with D.J. Chark, who caught eight passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns. |
|With Jacoby Brissett returning from injury, the Colts didn't ask him to do too much, instead, they put the game in the hands of their running backs and that strategy paid off big time. Marlon Mack steamrolled the Jaguars for 109 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and although he eventually had to leave the game with a hand injury, the Colts offense didn't miss a beat thanks to Jonathan Williams, who rushed for 116 yards. Williams was only active because Jordan Wilkins was down. Williams' performance underlines the Colts' impressive running back depth and their top-tier run blocking overall. The Colts rushed for a total of 264 yards in this game, which is the team's second-highest total over the past 30 years. This game also marked just the second time since the team moved to Indianapolis that two players reached 100 yards rushing in the same game. |
Minnesota 27-23 over Denver
|It's not easy to blow a 20-point halftime lead, but the Broncos managed to do that in Minnesota. After completely shutting down the Vikings in the first half, the Broncos defense fell apart in the second half as the Vikings scored a touchdown on ALL FOUR of their possessions in the half. Broncos quarterback Brandon Allen had a valiant performance in a hostile environment. Not only did he throw for 240 yards and a touchdown, but he came just four yards short of pulling off the upset after he led Denver down to Minnesota's four-yard line on the game's final drive. The Broncos offense got a big boost from Courtland Sutton, who threw for a first down, ran for a first down (on fourth down), caught a first down. The wide receiver finished with 38 passing yards, 114 receiving yards, and 10 rushing yards.|
|This game couldn't have gotten off to a more disastrous start for the Vikings, who trailed 20-0 after totaling just 47 yards in the first half. Considering that NFL teams were 0-99 when trailing by 20 or more points at the half over the past five years, it looked like the Vikings were going to need a miracle to win, and that's exactly what they got. Led by Stefon Diggs, the Vikings came out on fire in the second half. Diggs caught a 44-yard pass in the third quarter to set up a Minnesota TD, then followed that up with a 54-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter that cut the lead to 23-20 (Diggs finished with 121 receiving yards). This win will probably mean a lot to Kirk Cousins, who had been 0-10-1 when trailing in the fourth quarter during his Vikings career. Cousins threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns in the second half, which was a somewhat shocking turn of events, considering he threw for just 58 yards in the first half against the Broncos. |
N.Y. Jets 34-17 over Washington
|Sam Darnold completed the first seven passes that he threw in this game and then things only got better for him from there. The Jets quarterback arguably had the best game of his career, throwing for 293 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes. The Jets also got a big performance from Ryan Griffin, who caught five passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, it's a good thing the Jets didn't trade away Jamal Adams at the deadline because he was the star of the game for New York on the other side of the ball. Adams had three sacks in the game, and no, that's not a typo, the Jets safety tallied three of the team's six sacks. |
|For a team as bad as the Redskins, it's hard to say any game is rock bottom, but they might have actually hit that against the Jets. In this loss, the Redskins couldn't do anything right: They couldn't throw the ball (Dwayne Haskins went 19 of 35), they couldn't run the ball (they finished with just 54 yards), they couldn't make their field goals (Dustin Hopkins missed a 29-yarder) and their defense couldn't do anything to stop the Jets. The one silver lining in this game for the Redskins is that they did score their first offensive touchdown since Oct. 13, which is arguably something to build on going forward. Sure, it's not much to build on, but it's something, and at this point, that's all you can ask if you're a Redskins fan.|
New Orleans 34-17 over Tampa Bay
|New Orleans took control of this game from the jump, going up by as much as 20 points in the first half. They did struggle to get into the end zone to start, but after picking off Jamies Winston (the first of four times on the day), Drew Brees and Michael Thomas were able to open up the scoring. Defensively, they were able to pressure Jameis Winston all game and force a number of turnovers -- including a pick-6 that iced any sort of comeback in the fourth quarter. The Saints did allow Tampa to make this a relatively close game in the second half, which is why they don't get the full A. |
|It was a rough day for Jameis Winston, who threw four interceptions and was wildly inaccurate for most of the game. He hardly took any deep shots and, when he did, they were nowhere close to his intended target. That is what helped lead to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to combine for just one catch in the first half and created a hole that was too much to overcome. Defensively, they had no answer for Alvin Kamara, who had 122 yards from scrimmage.|
Saints-Buccaneers grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Dallas 35-27 over Detroit
|It has to again be said that the Cowboys defense is not where it needs to be, after being served yet another reminder in the form of allowing 27 points at the hands of backup quarterback Jeff Driskel. Luckily for them, they'd clamp down on the Lions final drive that could've threatened to force overtime, when Maliek Collins, Michael Bennett, and DeMarcus Lawrence -- the latter having left the game briefly only a few plays prior -- bullied Driskel on two consecutive downs to force fourth-and-26; and that essentially sealed the game because the Cowboys never gave the ball back. The opening drive fumble also drags the grade down from an A, but if I could give Dak Prescott an A+++ for his 444 yards and three touchdowns, I would, in a game that saw him flex his MVP-caliber talents.|
|Kudos to Jeff Driskel for giving the Cowboys defense a literal run for their money, showing he can do damage on the ground that balances what he can do in the air. With the help of big plays from Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Marvin Hall, J.D. McKissic and two rushing touchdowns from former Cowboys seventh-round draft pick Bo Scarbrough, the supporting cast in Detroit helped Driskel keep the pressure on the Cowboys all the way to the final two-minute warning. Their defense went back to sleep following the aforementioned fumble though, leaving too much for Driskel to overcome in an overall solid effort in the absence of Matthew Stafford.|
Cowboys-Lions grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Atlanta 29-3 over Carolina
|Apparently, switching around the titles of your assistant coaches is the correct way to turn a franchise around. The Falcons have now won two straight games and their defense looks like one of the best in the league. On Sunday, they sacked Kyle Allen five times and forced four interceptions. They pressured him all game long and didn't allow a touchdown. The offense did their job as well, as Matt Ryan passed for 311 yards and a touchdown. Calvin Ridley abused Carolina's defensive backs all game -- he recorded 143 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. I don't know what this means for Atlanta's season moving forward, but the Falcons appear to be playing hard for head coach Dan Quinn.|
|The Panthers would have failed if it were not for Christian McCaffrey. He accounted for 191 yards of total offense and became the first player in NFL history with over 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the first 10 games of a season, according to the team's website. Allen struggled to get the offense going all game and the Panthers' secondary was torn up by Julio Jones and Ridley. This was a team that needed a rebound win to remain in the playoff race, but now we are left seriously doubting if Allen is the right guy moving forward and if the Panthers even have a chance to sniff the postseason.|
Falcons-Panthers grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Baltimore 41-7 over Houston
|Yikes. Bill O'Brien had a prime chance to prove his Texans were for real in Baltimore, even by keeping things competitive, and they couldn't even muster that. Not by a long shot. Most concerning of all -- Deshaun Watson, their star QB, looked really bad. His line and play-calling didn't always help, but neither did his inability to throw the ball away. Oh, and that vaunted run defense? Nowhere to be found. Yes, they were just playing for fake pride by the end of the game, but still, it wasn't pretty. They get just a tiny bit of an excuse, however, for relying on an injury-riddled secondary.|
|Lamar Jackson wasn't at his best to open the game, but it didn't really matter. At all. The MVP candidate was still electric with his legs, and Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards picked up steam as the game wore on to keep the ground game balanced -- against one of the NFL's top run defenses, no less. Defensively, the Ravens were even more promising, logging seven sacks and making Deshaun Watson uncomfortable from the get-go. If you're still doubting Baltimore as a serious contender, now's the time to stop.|
Texans-Ravens grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Oakland 17-10 over Cincinnati
|The Raiders' game plan for the Bengals was to make Ryan Finley beat them and it's a plan that worked to perfection, because Finley couldn't do anything against Oakland's defense. The Bengals quarterback completed just 13 of 31 passes for 115 yards. The only reason the Bengals were able to keep this game close is because they were able to get their ground game going, and they also came up with several big plays on defense, including a fumble recovery after Josh Jacobs lost the ball in the red zone. The Bengals inexplicably got away from the run, even though they averaged 7.86 yards per carry (22 carries for 173 yards). The brunt of that came from Joe Mixon, who carried the ball 15 times for 86 yards. At 0-10, the Bengals have now tied the 1993 team for the worst start in franchise history. |
|The Raiders almost became upset victims on Sunday, but two rookies and one veteran ended up saving the day. One of those rookies was fourth-round pick Maxx Crosby, who absolutely wrecked the Bengals offensive line. The Raiders racked up five sacks in the game with four of those coming from Crosby, who the Bengals couldn't figure out how to block. Another rookie who carried the Raiders was Josh Jacobs. Although Jacobs did lose a fumble early in the game, he rebounded with 112 rushing yards. The veteran help in the Raiders win came from Derek Carr, who was nearly perfect. The Raiders quarterback threw for 292 yards and a touchdown in a game where he only threw four incomplete passes. The win wasn't pretty for Oakland, but ugly wins count the same as all other wins, so Jon Gruden probably doesn't care. |
San Francisco 36-26 over Arizona
|The Cardinals played well enough to win but -- for a second time in three weeks -- were unable to record an impressive win over the 49ers. While they completely shut down the 49ers' rushing attack, Arizona, for a second time, was unable to contain Garoppolo and San Francisco's passing attack. The Cardinals also failed to get a big game from a receiver, with Christian Kirk leading the way with six catches for just 41 yards. And despite having success on the ground, the Cardinals ran the ball just 25 times that included a mere 16 carries for Kenyan Drake. Arizona's lack of success on third down (they were just 3-of-10 on third downs) was another key factor in Sunday's loss. Conversely, their defense allowed the 49ers to covert on several key third downs during their comeback.|
|The 49ers won despite rushing for under 40 yards, committing over 120 yards in penalties and losing Emmanuel Sanders and Dee Ford to injuries during the game. The key to the 49ers' comeback victory (they trailed 16-0 early) was Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw for a career-high 424 yards and four touchdowns that included his game-winning, 25-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Wilson with 31 seconds left. With tight end George Kittle out and with Sanders on the bench for most of the second half, Garoppolo had success throwing to wide receiver Deebo Samuel (eight catches, 134 yards), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (seven catches, 63 yards) and tight end Ross Dwelley, who caught the first two touchdowns of his NFL career. After a slow start, the 49ers' defense forced two punts and two turnovers during the second half. San Francisco's defense also held Kyler Murray to just 150 passing yards for the game and less than 25 rushing yards in the second half.|
Cardinals-49ers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
New England 17-10 over Philadelphia
|Tom Brady wasn't at his best, but the Patriots found a way to win again thanks to the No. 1 defense in the NFL taking advantage of an injured Eagles offense. New England had five sacks in this one and held the Eagles to just 152 yards and no points in the final 42:40. That allowed New England to get back in the game by chipping away (even though the Patriots went just 5-of-16 on third down and 1-for-3 in the red zone). The play that gave the Patriots the win? A trick play, of all things. On a third-and-11 at the Eagles' 15 with 10:55 to play in the third quarter, wide receiver Julian Edelman (a former quarterback at Kent State) threw a touchdown pass to Phillip Dorsett to give the Patriots the lead and connected on a two-point conversion to take a touchdown lead that ended up being the 17-10 final. Without that play in Bill Belichick's playbook, the Patriots may have lost their second straight game. |
|Hard to judge the Eagles offense when they did not have No. 1 wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and No. 1 running back Jordan Howard in this one, but the offense just was not good enough to make up for a defense that held Tom Brady to 26 of 47 passing for 216 yards and no touchdowns as the Patriots scored just 17 points and none after the 10:49 mark in the third quarter. The Eagles averaged 4.8 yards per carry in the first half, but inexplicably abandoned the run in the second half as Carson Wentz held onto the ball too long and was inconsistent throwing the ball throughout the afternoon. Wentz was 20-for-40 for 214 yards and a touchdown and had just 82 yards from his wide receivers on the day, including a fourth down drop in the end zone by Nelson Agholor. The Eagles offense is banged up at too many positions (and lost their starting left tackle and right tackle during the game) to be efficient and the quarterback has to be great in order to score points. Neither happened Sunday. |
Patriots-Eagles grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Rams 17-7 over Bears
|Mitchell Trubisky was so bad in this game that he appeared to get benched late in the fourth quarter when the Bears still had a slight shot to win. The reason Trubisky presumably got benched (the team eventually said he was questionable with a hip injury) is because the Bears offense looked absolutely inept while he was running it, especially in the second half when the Bears went three-and-out on three big possessions. Of course, this loss wasn't all Trubisky's fault. Even when he was able to move the ball, the Bears found other ways to shoot themselves in the foot. For instance, Eddy Piniero missed two field goals in the first half that could have made a big difference in the game. The only bright spot for the Bears was a defense that held the Rams to under 300 yards.|
|It took 11 weeks, but the Rams finally got Todd Gurley going. The team's star running back totaled 133 yards against the Bears, which was his highest total of the year. The biggest surprise of Gurley's performance is that he had 25 carries, which was his highest total since October 2018. If the Rams had him on a pitch count before this week, they definitely threw that plan out the window in this game. Gurley was one of the few bright spots on a Rams offense that had trouble moving the ball. Fortunately for the Rams, their offensive struggles didn't end up hurting the team due to play of their defense, which absolutely shut the Bears down. The Rams were led by Aaron Donald, who recorded two of the team's three sacks. Jalen Ramsey also broke up four passes as the Rams held the Bears to under 200 passing yards.|
Kansas City 24-17 over L.A. Chargers (In Mexico City)
|The Chiefs had an ugly first half with just 109 total yards, but they quickly rebounded in the third quarter with two straight scoring drives that both ended with touchdowns. The difference between the first half and second half for Patrick Mahomes was that he was able to get Travis Kelce involved in the offense. After only catching one pass in the first half, Kelce came out in the second half and caught six passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, Frank Clark had his biggest game of the year for Kansas City. Not only did he record a sack and a tackle for a loss, but he also pressured Philip Rivers in the second quarter that caused the Chargers quarterback to throw an interception. |
|Philip Rivers isn't under contract after this season, and if he keeps playing the way he's playing, the Chargers are going to have to start thinking about moving on from him after the 2019 season. For the second straight week, Rivers threw multiple back-breaking interceptions, including a pick in the end zone with just 18 seconds left to play. Rivers threw a total of four interceptions in the game and has now thrown seven over the past two weeks combined. In a game where the Chargers defense held the Chiefs to just 310 yards, Rivers pretty much single-handedly cost his team the game. The Chargers offense had some serious success in this game -- finishing with 438 total yards -- but it couldn't finish any drives. The Chargers drove inside of Kansas City's 10-yard line a total of three times, but only came away with one touchdown. At 4-7, it might be time for the Chargers to start thinking about next season and more importantly, who their quarterback will be in 2020. |