Josh Allen And His Turnover Issues Create A Major Problem For The Buffalo Bills

The season opener had all of the ingredients for the Buffalo Bills to start out the season 1-0.

Playing in front of a Jets home crowd of over 83,000 in anticipation of Aaron Rodgers’ team debut, Buffalo appeared to have a win in the books due to a major unexpected injury.

The Jets’ new franchise quarterback, the 39-year-old Rodgers, crumbled to the ground on his fourth offensive play after suffering what appeared to be an ankle injury. Not long after, the four-time MVP was ruled out for the remainder of the game, with the much-criticized Zach Wilson taking over at quarterback.

All Josh Allen and the Bills had to do was not screw it up and they would start out the season 1-0.

Except Allen screwed it up — again.

The 27-year-old quarterback’s well-documented struggles with his propensity for turnovers creeped up again in the most unlikely of games. Allen somehow threw three interceptions — all to Jets safety Jordan Whitehead — and lost a fumble when he didn’t need to play hero.

It was a problem towards the end of last season when Allen nearly single-handedly lost the Bills their opening playoff game against the Skylar Thompson-led Miami Dolphins — Allen had two interceptions, one fumble lost and another two fumbles — and it continues to be a major problem nearly a year later.

The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback acknowledged as much during the postgame presser, taking full responsibility for a loss that should have never been possible in the first place.

“I was trying to force the ball,” Allen said soberly after the game. “Same s***, same place, different day. I hurt our team tonight. I cost our team tonight. This feels eerily similar to last year and I hate that it’s the same. I do.”

Allen’s first two interceptions on the night were on deep throws with the Bills in control of the game. In fact, when both interceptions occurred — one late in the second quarter and one midway through the third quarter — Buffalo was leading.

The first one came on an unnecessary deep throw on a 3rd-and-8 where Allen could have simply ran for a first down. In fact, he heaved an overthrown pass straight into the hands of Whitehead.

The second interception came on another overthrown deep pass into the hands of Whitehead, this time on a 2nd-and-13 from the Jets’ 41-yard-line into double coverage.

The third interception came with Buffalo leading 13-6 deep into the fourth quarter and with Allen once again trying to force another pass to Stefon Diggs.

And the final turnover — the most costly one that led to New York’s first lead of the game — came on a double fumble by Allen.

Allen somehow managed to make far more mistakes than his younger and much more criticized counterpart, Wilson. The 24-year-old former No. 2 overall draft pick was replaced by Rodgers as the starting quarterback this offseason due to his struggles over the first two seasons and responded by simply managing the game.

While Wilson started off a bit shaky — he threw an interception on his third drive of the game in Jets territory — he bounced back to lead a game-tying 57-yard drive late in the fourth quarter.

Wilson did what Allen couldn’t — take care of the football and not lose the game by committing stupid mistakes.

It’s no surprise that the media had a field day pointing out Allen’s mistakes, with ESPN mentioning that Allen’s 82 turnovers since the 2018 season are the most of any quarterback. For perspective, that’s over 16 turnovers per season.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott made sure to stress that Allen’s turnovers were a major problem in the loss.

“If you study turnovers around the NFL and around the game, a lot of the turnovers take place when you’re off schedule or behind the sticks or what we call ‘in the red,’” McDermott said. “It’s not a good place to be so when you’re in those situations, you’ve gotta be smart and it’s a one-dimensional offensive thought in those situations, but they know it’s one-dimensional also. You just gotta be smart with the ball and don’t put yourself where the ball is in harm’s way.”

Dating back to Week 16 of last season, Allen’s turnovers have become a bigger issue than normal. In fact, the sixth-year quarterback has now committed turnovers in six consecutive games. Over that time frame, Allen has thrown nine interceptions to go along with seven fumbles and three fumbles lost. That’s 12 turnovers — two per game — when other elite quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes committed a total of 12 turnovers in 17 regular season games last year.

While this probably won’t be Allen last season with the Bills, Buffalo is facing a make-or-break season this year. After consistently coming up short in the AFC playoffs — they’ve lost twice to the Kansas City Chiefs and twice in the divisional playoffs in the past three years — the Bills need to punch a ticket to the Super Bowl this season.

As talented as Allen may be, his penchant for turnovers are costing this team games. The hero mentality isn’t doing the Bills any good — especially in games when they don’t need it.

If Allen can’t learn how to keep his emotions in check and avoid his gunslinger mentality, the Bills will never get over the hurdle of simply being a good regular season team who can’t get it done in the playoffs.

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