“Josh Allen still has a long way to go.” That was the title of an article I wrote after a 2019 Week 4 game in which Allen basically handed New England a victory with his erratic, turnover-prone play. Since then, he has not only improved, he has propelled himself into the discussion of best quarterbacks in the NFL. He threw 17 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions through his final 12 games of 2019. Through 12 games this season, he’s thrown 26 touchdowns to 8 interceptions and is completing almost 70% of his passes.
Allen’s physical ability has always been a differentiator for him. And it was on display all night against the 49ers in Week 13, where he made multiple jaw-dropping throws on the run:
Those throws were simply ridiculous, and they led to a touchdown and field goal respectively. Those highlight-reel plays have always been a part of Allen’s game. But a few spectacular plays does not make a great quarterback. It doesn’t matter if you’re Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, or Tom Brady, the core of your performance every week has to be the ball coming out on time, accurately, and to the right place. More and more, those types of throws have defined Allen’s game, as you can see on his first touchdown pass of the night against San Francisco.
Below you can see where Cole Beasley was in his route when Allen had started his motion. He hadn’t quite gotten his head around yet.
Anticipation is important, even on the short and quick throws. Allen also put that ball perfectly on Beasley’s body, something you have to be able to do in tight spaces in the red zone.
Here’s another example, a flat-curl-pin concept similar to the one above.
Again, great timing and ball placement.
You might be looking at those passes and thinking, “big deal.” But these are the types of throws that lead to consistent quarterback play, and therefore, consistent offense. Allen has been great this year, largely because of the greater frequency of boring throws like the two shown above.
Against the Steelers in Week 14, there is no question that the ability to make plays outside the pocket will help Allen succeed. But the ability to process information, plant quickly, and get rid of the ball on time consistently will be major factors against Pittsburgh’s blitz schemes and dangerous pass rush.
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