After Josh Allen's breakout season of 2020 his offseason quarterback trainer, Jordan Palmer stated in an interview on 'One Bills Live' this past spring that Buffalo's quarterback has no ceiling. It was a comment that raised eyebrows immediately. Allen, who had just completed a season of production that broke a host of team records, could still advance his game further?!
The answer is yes.
As Allen enters the 50th game of his young career in Tennessee on Monday night, there are all-time lists and records he can make good on. He's already the only quarterback in league history to throw for 11,000-plus yards, run for 1,700-plus yards and have more than 100 total touchdowns.
He's also currently one rushing touchdown behind Cam Newton (28) for most rushing touchdowns in a quarterback's first 50 games. And he's got a chance to climb the list of most rushing and passing touchdowns in a quarterback's first 50 games where he currently sits in fourth with 106 – trailing only Patrick Mahomes – 135, Dan Marino – 116, and Deshaun Watson – 112.
But as Allen has stated from the time he arrived in Buffalo, the stats don't matter as much as the victories. And in that category he's been pretty darn good as well posting a 32-16 mark in 48 starts (49 career game appearances).
"The job of the quarterback is to put your team in position to score points and do whatever it takes to win a football game," said Allen. "I'm always working to find ways to be better for this team. I want to be great. I want to be the best quarterback I can be for this team and I'm going to strive every day to be that guy."
So far, so good, as Allen has become a supreme headache for opposing defensive coordinators and head coaches. He's proven difficult to neutralize on all fronts defensively.
"It really takes everybody that's out there playing defense and the responsibility that you have to try to affect him and do everything that you can," said Titans head coach Mike Vrabel whose team has been preparing for him and the Bills offense all week. "He's got such good play strength, speed, continuing to grow and understand his offense and what him and Brian (Daboll) want to get done offensively and the schemes and being able to let the receivers and the tight ends work for him and now this year the running game."
As good as Allen has been overall, he also doesn't mind the bright lights of primetime. In his six regular season primetime appearances he's compiled a record of 5-1 completing 65 percent of his passes with a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio (16 passing TDs, 4 INTs) and a 106.1 passer rating.
His latest effort – a 315-yard passing day – that included four touchdowns through the air and one on the ground in an 18-point win at Kansas City.
"He was being himself," said Stefon Diggs of his performance last week. "He trusted himself. In those big moments he wanted the team to be on his back as the quarterback, as our leader."
And his game took another noticeable step in that Sunday night performance against the Chiefs. He successfully balanced improvising when necessary while playing within the scope of the game plan.
"He was aggressive in a calculated way," said head coach Sean McDermott of Allen's most recent performance. "There were times when he was out of the pocket where he threw the ball away and there were times when he was out of the pocket and made plays down the field and found open receivers. So I thought it was a real nice balance of aggressiveness and real responsible decision making on his part."
Scroll to see the entire sequence of photos as Josh Allen elevates for his iconic Week 5 hurdle against the Kansas City Chiefs.
As encouraging as Allen's play has been this season after his breakout year of 2020, the Bills signal caller strives for more. Though he has shown everyone what he can do on a football field physically, Allen aims to raise his game with what lies between his ears.
"He's put a lot of time, effort and energy to improving," said offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. "I know Josh is a tireless worker. He works to improve and obviously he's improved every year that he's been here and that's what you hope for in any player. But he's a special kind of guy when you talk about commitment and dedication to a craft, leadership with your teammates and laying it on the line. I'm just very thankful we have him."
But it's that drive that convinces ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Louis Riddick that what Palmer said is true. If Allen can raise his mental acuity for what's about to happen on a football field, he will truly become one of the elites.
"We can all get enamored with Josh's physical ability," Riddick said. "When you take a quarterback sneak and fake like you're going into the middle of line and then take it outside and pick up 15 or 20 yards on a 4th-and-1 situation, that's ridiculous. We all saw some of those runs against Kansas City. It's not fair a guy that big, jumping over people. That's not fair, but it's easy to recognize that he's special.
"But it's mentally where he will take his game to higher and higher levels to where he reaches that master class of players like Steve Young and Joe Montana used to be back in the day and Brady, Brees and Manning were more recently. That's when you're talking about the elite of the elite and Hall of Famers. So when Jordan (Palmer) says he has no ceiling I see what he means because I think it's all about growth mentally now.
"He's corrected all that he needed to correct mechanically which has translated to better accuracy. Now it's just about laughing at defensive coordinators saying if that's all you're going to come with I'm going to tear you apart because that's too easy for me."