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Josh Allen finds a new way to reach the 300-yard passing plateau

Josh Allen (17) Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets, October 25, 2020 at MetLife Stadium.
  Photo by Bill Wippert
Josh Allen (17) Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets, October 25, 2020 at MetLife Stadium. Photo by Bill Wippert

When Josh Allen passed for 300 yards against the New York Jets back in Week 1 – his first time reaching the mark – he did so with an aerial attack that would become a staple for the Bills during their 4-0 start. Allen had 11 completions of 20-plus yards during those games, good for second in the NFL.

Six weeks later, 300 yards no longer feels like a milestone. Allen reached the mark for the fourth time with his 307-yard outing in the Bills' 18-10 victory over the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. It was how he did it that was a topic of conversation afterward. 

Spurred by the Bills' passing success through four weeks, defenses began to play zone coverage with two deep safeties in an attempt to rule out big plays through the air. After losses to Tennessee and Kansas City, Allen said he had to take advantage of those coverages underneath. 

In that sense, Sunday was a step in the right direction. 

"Phenomenal job by Josh," head coach Sean McDermott said. "Showed a tremendous amount of discipline and patience. That's a next step for him in terms of taking what the defense is giving him, remaining patient where he needs to be patient with calculated shots down the field."

The Jets employed a similar defensive strategy to what the Bills saw from the Titans and Chiefs, forcing the Buffalo offense to earn points with long drives and short passes. Cole Beasley said he expects the Bills to continue to see those coverages until they prove they can beat them. 

"They're really just making us be patient and sustain drives and really go the length of the field with a lot of plays on any given drive," Beasley said. "They're basically saying that we can't do that. We just have to do a better job [against] those types of teams that are keeping everything in front."

The numbers say the Bills did a good job against the Jets with the exception of the red zone. The Bills strung together five drives of 40-plus yards. They worked their way into the red zone five times as well, but – for the first time this season – never found the end zone. 

With the Jets limiting action over the top, Beasley again showed the sort of damage he can do coming out of the slot. Beasley hauled in a career-high 11 receptions on 12 targets and matched a career best with 112 receiving yards. His five grabs for first downs were a season high. 

Beasley said he puts it on himself to be at his best when defenses leave room to work inside. With freedom to roam, the veteran worked to stay on script in terms of playing a "quarterback friendly" game, seeking the spots where Allen expects him to be. Allen took advantage.

"Just taking what the defense gave us," Allen said. "We had guys running underneath and guys were able to make some plays, but too far and few in between down in the red zone."

Though big plays were scarce, Allen pointed to a would-be touchdown to Gabriel Davis that was called back due to an illegal formation penalty as an example of identifying the right time to take a shot. With the Bills facing second-and-10 on the New York 21-yard line, Allen took advantage of a cornerback blitz and hit Davis with a pass to the end zone.

The Bills also utilized Allen on the ground to the tune of a season-high 61 rushing yards. His previous high also came against the Jets in a 57-yard performance back in Week 1. 

As usual, Allen was more prone to discuss areas in need of improvement after the win, the red zone in particular. The Bills entered the week having converted 73.91 percent of their red-zone trips into touchdowns, good for seventh in the NFL.

Getting that back on track will be the next step for a quarterback and an offense learning through the ebbs and flows of a season. 

"We're going to learn from it," Allen said. "We'll find new ways to get the ball into the end zone."

Scroll through to see photos of all the action as the Bills take on the Jets at MetLife Stadium, presented by Imagine Staffing

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