The power of one



How much does yesterday’s game mean to the future of Allen and the Bills?

The Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen played one outstanding game yesterday in Minnesota.

What word stands out to you in that sentence?  Is it, “outstanding” or, “one?”

Call me a cynic, a pessimist or some other derogatory term, but I’m choosing to focus on the word, “one.” The Bills and their rookie quarterback still have a ton to prove after playing just one good game.

How many times have we seen a shiny new QB look good and hang all of our hopes and dreams on his shoulders, only to be let down? Remember when Kyle Orton took over for EJ? Remember Tyrod’s throw to Harvin week 1 against the Colts? Remember Losman’s first game against Houston? Remember Trent Edwards? I realize Allen did a lot of things really well, including hurdling a 6’5” linebacker en route to a crucial first down. He read the field well. He threw the ball accurately. If not for some drops from his targets, his numbers would have been incredible.

The defense was very disruptive. They found the magic of forced turnovers that they had so-often harnessed last year when they beat good teams like Atlanta. They nearly shut out a great offense on the road in one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL.

I’m not here to discredit anything that Allen did or anything that the Bills did yesterday. I’m merely asking the question, “Can they sustain this?”

I can’t forget how miserable they looked from top to bottom as a team for two straight weeks. I also can’t forget that Allen is a rookie and will have his ups and downs. I’m not sold that Allen is ready to be the franchise QB for this team for the next 15 years. I’m not signing on the dotted line to say all this team’s problems are behind them. They still severely lack talent at many positions and they’re still only 1-2 in the standings.

It seems most Bills fans – at least the ones I’ve talked to on social media – are completely buying in to the idea that the Bills will be good because they beat a top defense and a top team convincingly. It’s. One. Game.

Completing 31/44, with 480 yards, 6 TD and 1 INT…these are the numbers from Matt Flynn’s playoff game against the Lions in 2011. Everyone was ready to crown him the next Aaron Rodgers because of that crazy stat line. It was only one game, though. What has he done since then? He’s been handsomely paid to lose job after job (Seattle paid him big money only to have him lose the starting job to Russell Wilson in camp in 2012) and is currently out of the league.

I’m not saying that Josh Allen will collapse or that this might not be a turning point for the Bills, I’m merely saying I’m not ready to hand Allen the key to the city and bet the over on the Bills season win total.

Maybe you’re already a believer. Maybe I’ll be late to the party when Allen plays near perfect football all season long. Maybe the Bills somehow go on a Cinderella run again and make the playoffs, in which case I’ll deserve all of the people telling me, “I told you so!”

I won’t be convinced until I see sustained success. That doesn’t mean they have to win every game. It doesn’t mean that Allen can’t make any mistakes. I’m just not willing to make a true evaluation until the end of next season. This team needs another offseason and draft to finish building an NFL caliber offense.

This also means I won’t give up on Beane, McDermott and Allen if the rest of this season goes south. It’s incredibly difficult to evaluate Allen and this team with the current roster and schedule. This is such a small sample size, so I’m unwilling to snap to judgment either way.

Here’s hoping that our beloved Bills are on a track to continuous, sustainable success. We know that no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills…and no one hurdles linebackers like Josh Allen.

Steve Bermel