ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Through the first four games of the season, the Bills offense was led by their high-flying passing attack, something this team hasn’t seen in quite some time.
The Bills were second in the league in passing led by Josh Allen who showed huge improvements to start the season, silencing critics of his downfield game that he struggled with last season where he was rarely able to hit his receivers on deep shots. The passing game was explosive especially in the first quarter of games.
Allen who never had a 300-yard passing game passed that mark in the season opener against the Jets then followed it up with his first 400-yard game the next week against the Dolphins. He had another 300-yard game against the Rams and just missed the mark against the Raiders.
They were certainly a pass first offense which became their identity the first month of the season where they scored 123 points in the first four games. But things have cooled off in that area the last four games.
Against the Titans, Chiefs, Jets and Patriots, they’ve only scored 75 points for an average of just under 19 points per game.
The change came when Tennessee played heavy zone coverage and other teams followed, taking away those deep shots. But Allen thinks they’re prepared to adjust to that kind of defense now.
“I think we’re at a point where we do feel comfortable. You know I’ve seen enough to kind of know what to do in a sense just taking what the defense gives me and when we have opportunities to throw it down the field that’s when we’ll do it,” Allen said.
“But we’re trusting the underneath coverage, our routes and our slot receivers and our running backs and tight ends to find holes in the zone and to get open. So it’s definitely still a work in progress but I think we’ve been handling it a better way. We’ve been able to move the ball really at will, obviously we’ve got to put some more points on the board.”
Last week against the Patriots, the Bills finally got their running game going, something they’ve struggled with so far this season. They rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie running back Zack Moss had a career day with 81 yards and two touchdowns, Allen rushed for the other. This was the perfect game plan against a New England run defense that’s struggled not to mention in the windy, wet and sloppy weather conditions. The Bills only threw the ball 18 times.
And while the Bills are happy they were able to get that aspect of their offense going, getting the passing game back to where it was the first month of the season is also a priority.
Before the season started, GM Brandon Beane touched on the topic of Allen winning games with his arm saying, “if it’s a game that we have to throw it 40 times, we’re playing against one of these high-powered offenses that we’ve got to keep up, then that’s what we want to be able to do. We want to be able to play any style.”
The Seahawks are certainly one of those high-powered offenses, in fact the highest scoring offense putting up 34.3 points per game led by MVP front-runner Russell Wilson.
Allen was asked if he feels comfortable and feels like they’re at a point where he can throw it 40 times a game.
“Absolutely, just trusting the five guys up front making sure that I’m getting the protection right and trusting our guys to run the right route and catch the ball. Our guys have been doing a really good job of that so I gotta keep making smart decisions putting the ball where it needs to be and just letting those other guys go to work,” Allen said.
Looking ahead to Seattle, even though the Seahawks’ defense has dealt with a ton of injuries and is allowing the most passing yards per game in the league, Allen knows they still have to play smart.
“Taking care of the football, moving the chains on third down, scoring touchdowns when we can is gonna be huge for us. We’re not trying to put anything past this defense, they’re forcing a lot of turnovers, they’re very opportunistic, they’ve got some real dudes over there so we’ve got to be ready for anything that they can throw at us,” Allen explained.