51 starts (playoff and regular season included) into his four-year career, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is 33-18. That record includes 15 wins from his 2020 campaign — the one in which he finished second in league MVP voting behind Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and in front of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
To be fair, it wasn’t by much. Of the 50 votes, Allen had four votes to Mahomes’ two, but it was a small win in what has otherwise been a losing effort against Mahomes in his career.
Mahomes outplayed Allen in Week 6 last year as the Chiefs won 26-17, then once again when the Chiefs won 38-24 in the AFC championship. The Chiefs saw two of Allen’s down starts in what has been an up-and-down stretch of sorts.
Which Josh Allen are the Bills getting Sunday at Arrowhead? pic.twitter.com/yIjT09D1fQ— nick wright (@getnickwright) October 7, 2021
Still, the Chiefs quarterback is not looking past all that Allen can do. The Bills quarterback may not have conquered the Chiefs, but Mahomes sees a player on the rise.
“I think what you see with Josh as he gets better and better every single year, is he’s not satisfied with where he’s at,” said Mahomes. “He works through his throwing motion, he works on his feet, he does different types of stuff to give himself an edge — and I think that’s what all the best quarterbacks do. It’s something I know I do is look back every offseason, I find one thing I can get better at and try to continue to get better and better. You’ve seen that with Josh, they put a lot on him, they make a lot of checks at the line of scrimmage to make all the right decisions, throw the ball, run the ball, do all that different types of stuff.
“I think that’s what’s put them at this level where they’re a dominant team. He’s definitely gotten better and better each and every year and I’m sure we’ll have lots of battles as both of our careers go on.”
When asked about possible revenge for the AFC title loss this week, Allen scoffed at the idea.
“It’s Week 5,” quarterback Josh Allen said, via NFL.com. “Everybody wants to make this big deal about the AFC Championship rematch, and I get that’s what it is. But it’s a new year and this team’s different than last year, and their team’s different than last year.
“But they’re the gold standard what you would want to be as an AFC team, being to the AFC championship the last three years and competing for Super Bowls is what they’ve been doing. So that’s what every team wants to be and until somebody knocks them off in the playoffs, that won’t change.”
Allen hasn’t rushed as many times as Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson or Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, but one thing the Chiefs will need to remember on Sunday is his willingness and ability to throw the football.
Allen has about as many passing touchdowns (9) as those two quarterbacks combined (11), and he still manages to run the ball at more than five yards a carry. With that in mind, the Chiefs know they will have to be prepared for anything.
“It’s a mix of everything,” said safety Daniel Sorensen, when asked about what makes Allen challenging to defend. “He’s an incredible quarterback. He’s the whole package, right? He’s big, he’s strong, [can] extend plays out of the pocket and still the ball accurately down the field and then when he needs to, he’ll run the ball and can be a threat in that regard, so it’s going to be all hands on deck when we’re going up against 17 and yeah, he’s a great quarterback.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo sees a quarterback that has hardly changed since the AFC title game in his first four looks of 2021.
“Talent-wise, all the same,” said Spagnuolo. “He just gets better and better, but it really feels like he is in total control of what they do at the line of scrimmage — not necessarily a call coming in and you’re running it. I just think they’ve taken it to a next level from that standpoint.”