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The Buffalo Bills Tried to Build the Whole Plane Out of Josh Allen

Kyle Koster
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The Buffalo Bills entered this season with realistic Super Bowl aspirations. Those are still in tact after a distressing Week 1 loss at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the reality portion of the exercise has supplanted the dreams at the forefront. Sean McDermott's team squandered a 10-point lead and suffered from a perplexing gameplan which tried to make the whole plane out of Josh Allen and inexplicably prolong the flight instead of landing quickly at the intended destination.

Allen, fresh off signing a six-year extension announcing that he's the future of the franchise, was the center of the Bills' offensive universe. He threw 51 passes, five more than his previous career-high set last Opening Day. He added nine rushing attempts, a figure he eclipsed just three times in his breakout 2020 campaign. In total, 63 of Buffalo's 79 plays involved Allen doing something with the ball.

And make no mistake, he's certainly capable of making winning plays all afternoon on any given Sunday. Pittsburgh getting 19 pressures gummed up the works and doomed the Bills. Which makes the stubbornness to keep airing it out even more jarring. It's as if offensive coordinator Brian Daboll wanted to make sure the franchise was getting the most out of its expensive investment all at once.

Allen may have a rocket for an arm capable of launching spirals through inevitable Orchard Park flurries, but he's not yet Superman. He, like the subject of the Scrubs theme song, can't do it all on his own. He needs help. For his supporting cast to carry some of the load.

Devin Singletary, perfectly capable himself, only toted the rock 11 times and averaged a more than productive 6.5 yard per attempt. Matt Breida carried it four times for four yards (including one poorly executed play on 4th and 1) and Isaiah McKenzie lost three yards in his only opportunity. This is quite obviously not a recipe for success.

Allen has never been Mr. Air It Out and Hope For the Best. He's benefitted from a hard-nosed offense that establishes the run from both the quarterback and the backfield. The surrounding narrative around him may have changed over the past few years but he retained the same requisite building blocks for success. It was bizarre to see those essentially abandoned. Even more so when one considers throwing the ball 51 times in December and January outside in Buffalo is an inherently bad idea.

Look, obviously the sky is not falling. Allen didn't play his best game and was bitten by a head-scratching approach. Week 1 is a time to try new things but also a prime time to lose the plot. The Bills have a tremendous building block with their franchise quarterback. They'll need other parts to shoulder some of the load, though, if they want to rise higher than last year's AFC title game.

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