After four weeks of the season Josh Allen looked like a top tier MVP candidate. The Buffalo Bills' third-year quarterback was among the most efficient players in football and was lighting up the NFL for his undefeated squad. Two weeks later, things have changed dramatically.
The Bills lost their second-straight game Monday evening, dropping a 26-17 decision at home to the Kansas City Chiefs. It was an ugly game and rain played a part throughout, but Allen and the Bills' offense struggled mightily against the league's 23rd-ranked defense. The 24-year-old finished the night completing 14 of 27 passes for 122 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. He only completed 51.9 percent of his passes, averaged a dismal 4.5 yards per attempt and finished with a passer rating of 73.4. He also made this throw late:
It was Allen's second bad showing in a row. In a 42-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 5, he was 26-of-41 for 263 yards, with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 77.6. That's a far cry from the first four weeks, where he could do no wrong.
Through Week 4, Allen had completed 70.9 percent of his passes for 1,326 yards, with 12 touchdowns and one interception. He averaged 8.96 yards per attempt in those games and had a passer rating of 122.8. Along with Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers, Allen was in the first-tier of MVP candidates.
So what changed? How has Allen dropped off so precipitously in the last two games? Well, his opponents might have something to do with it. The Bills opened the season against the floundering New York Jets and followed that up by beating an average Miami Dolphins squad. Then they hosted the Los Angeles Rams -- who haven't beaten anyone outside the dumpster fire that is the NFC East -- and caught the Las Vegas Raiders on a bad week. The Rams and Raiders might make the playoffs, but neither has performed consistently.
Allen may have just been lighting up bad teams early. The Rams' defense ranks fourth in total yards allowed per game, but they've also played all four NFC East teams. The Raiders rank 24th in yards allowed and are giving up 30.4 points per game. They're not exactly a defensive powerhouse. The Jets and Dolphins both rank in the bottom half of the league in defense as well.
None of this is to say Allen isn't markedly better this year. He undoubtedly is much improved, but for a while he looked like an elite quarterback finally hitting his stride. Given how he's performed the last two weeks, it's fair to wonder if that was a mirage.
He'll have to do some serious work to get back into the MVP conversation.