Jackson seizing the opportunities Allen has not

November 03, 2019 - 11:53 pm

Buffalo Bills fans should applaud the Baltimore Ravens for their statement 37-20 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday night. It kept Buffalo only a game behind the Patriots for first place in the AFC East.

At the same time, seeing the way Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson took over against, arguably, the NFL's best defense had to make fans wonder if Josh Allen will seize those same opportunities later this season.

Or maybe ever.

This wasn't the first time Jackson has done this against one of the top teams in the league either. Two weeks ago, Jackson went on the road against the 5-1 Seattle Seahawks and did the exact same thing.

These types of performances have put him in the Most Valuable Player conversation, and might be leaving teams that passed on him for other quarterbacks wonder what could have been.

It isn't likely the Bills are feeling buyers remorse about Allen just yet. At 6-2, now isn't the best time to panic.

However, when it comes to the Bills taking that next step and showing they can be more than just a wild card team in a weak conference, Allen will need to have the statement performances Jackson has had.

Even against the basement teams of the NFL, Allen has not had a game where he simply has his way with a defense. A game where he shows he is clearly the best player on the field and can do whatever he wants with the football.

The second-year signal caller has had opportunities to show up big against legitimate contenders too. He had his worst performances of the year in those games.

Against the Patriots in a Week 4 matchup at New Era Field, Allen's three interceptions were the biggest reason Buffalo fell 16-10. In a home game last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, Allen completed just 47% of his throws for 169 yards.

It doesn't have to just be stat padding or utter domination for 60 minutes.

Jackson threw for under 200 passing yards against Seattle and New England. How he made those statement wins was by rushing for over 100 yards in Seattle. By converting fourth downs and key plays in crucial situations of the games. By getting in the end zone three times against the Patriots, completing 73% of his throws, and making the best defensive mind of all time (Bill Belichick) look lost on how to defend him.

Allen just hasn't made those plays yet. They can only beat who the schedule offers, but in the few tests he has had, it hasn't been a pretty result.

The Wyoming product will still get more opportunities this year to prove he can step up in big games.

Buffalo gets to face Jackson and the Ravens in a few weeks, and will also travel to New England for another battle with the Patriots in Week 16. The Bills also have a Thanksgiving matchup with the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys before both of those games.

Time will tell if Allen is just a quarterback they can win with, or if he is a player they win games because of his play.

What the answer is might also be the answer on whether the Bills are a playoff contender or a championship contender.

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