Allen says injury isn’t a problem because late runs cost bills

ORCHARD PARK, NY – Questions coming into the Buffalo Bills’ game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday centered around whether quarterback Josh Allen would be available to play because he has dealt with a right elbow injury. After four quarters and nine minutes of overtime, questions turned to how Allen’s belated mistakes contributed to the collapse of other bills.

For the first time in his career, Allen committed three turnovers (two interceptions and a stumble) in the fourth quarter/overtime period, as the Vikings took the opportunity to finish out 33-30 in a thriller back and forth. Allen has now thrown two or more interceptions in three consecutive games, and has thrown two interceptions in the end zone in a game for the first time in his career.

Despite a 17-point lead in the third quarter, Buffalo allowed Minnesota to bounce back. Two of Allen’s turnarounds resulted in a relegation, and the third ended the match. Minnesota scored 13 points from four turnovers in Buffalo, a season high in turnover stops allowed by the Bills.

“We had chances to win the game, and we have to do a better job of sponsoring the football,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “I know I keep saying it. We talk about it every week, and it makes winning a football match very difficult when you turn the ball four times.”

Both Allen and McDermott said he was unaffected by an elbow injury during the match. The quarterback was dubious entering Sunday after participating in one day of training (Friday) at a limited capacity. McDermott did not go into specifics as to when the decision was made to start Allen in place of the back-up quarterback Keenum.

“I’ve progressed steadily throughout the week,” Allen said. “Spend a lot of hours getting ready to play. Appreciate the guys in the practice room to help me get back there. I don’t know if I can give you a specific day, but I always felt like I could play.”

Sunday Allen completed 29 of 43 passes for 330 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions, including 10 season-high passes from 10 air yards. He led the team in the rush again with six campaigns for 84 yards, though McDermott said during the week that the Bills needed more balancing. The rush out of Allen ended in the second half with 21 yards on seven carts.

Allen’s first interception came in a fourth play down from the Minnesota 7-yard line. Dawson Knox’s pass was meant for the tight end, but Allen said it “doesn’t make sense” to throw the ball away or take a sack, so he tried to connect with Knox. Instead, Patrick Peterson scored his first two interceptions of the day.

While the Vikings capitalized on this play by landing, the Buffalo defense halted Minnesota at the Bills’ one-yard line on the next drive, which seemed to end the game. According to ESPN Analytics, the Bills had a greater than 99.9% chance of winning at that point. Instead, once Biles got the ball back, Allen and quarterback Mitch Morse did not make contact for a straight shot that was briefly in Allen’s hand. Minnesota regained the ball in the end zone for the touchdown.

“That’s on me,” Allen said. “It can’t be that.”

But Morse came to the quarterback’s defense.

“In any situation where there is such a snap, I put that on myself,” Morse said. “And that’s unacceptable on my part… It’s just one of those things where you have to watch the movie and see what happened… It was a game-changing play, and it’s tough.

“It’s one of those plays you look at when you’re 40 and wish you could take it back.”

The Bills’ offense was able to go 55 yards in five plays to force overtime with a 29-yard field goal from Tyler Bass, but in reality, a 20-yard pass to wide receiver Gabe Davis should have been called incomplete, as NFL First Vice Chief of Staff Walt Anderson told a reporter gathering.

Allen’s final interception came in overtime with 1:12 and the Bills remaining in the position to tie or win the match. Allen tried to communicate with Davis despite the multiplicity of Viking defenders in the area. Quarterback called it a bad decision.

“Sort of a double post-nest concept there,” Allen said. “Harrison Smith took the top path, and I felt he was in a position to stop if I threw him over the top, so I just tried to drive it. That’s a smart vet… he can’t do a throw.”

This selection resulted in the Bills losing back-to-back games despite maintaining a double-digit customer for the first time since the fifth and seventh weeks of 2010.

“We have to keep playing sharp,” said Stevon Diggs, Buffalo’s wide receiver. “I mean, I feel like we’re out in the first half, our mind is sharp, we’re chasing after him, and then we hit a bit of a lull, and then we have to get back into the groove.

“Von Miller always says, ‘Don’t blink,’ and I feel like we might blink a little, especially when we’re trying to figure it out.”

Since Week 8, the Bales have averaged the lowest offensive points in the second half and overtime in the league (4 points per game) and the second-worst margin of points per game (-10.3). Allen threw no passing distances and five interceptions in the second half during this stretch.

While errors loom large, attacking problems and Allen in the second half in general have become a trend.

“We were horrible in the red, and that’s again on my shoulder,” Allen said. “So, we have to clean it up for sure.”

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