Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen shouldered much of the blame after his team fell just short against the Patriots Saturday afternoon.
“I didn’t do a good enough job there,” Allen said after the game.
Trailing 24-17, Allen and the Bills had a chance to tie things up — or possibly even take the lead — in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. After starting their drive on their own 25-yard line, the Bills advanced the ball all the way down to New England’s eight-yard line only to be denied by the Patriots’ defense.
On first-and-goal, Allen was tackled for a loss of a yard. On second-and-goal, he overthrew an open Dawson Knox in the end zone. On third-and-goal, Allen was sacked for a loss of six yards. And on fourth-and-goal, he scrambled under pressure before desperately hurling a pass to wide receiver Cole Beasley in the end zone. Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson batted down the ball, sealing New England’s victory and AFC East title.
“When we get it down there, we got to get it in the end zone,” Allen said. “There’s no doubt about that. That’s on my shoulders.”
Allen, who finished with 208 passing yards, said he wished he found a better rhythm to start the game. Other than the touchdown pass to close the first half, Buffalo’s offense was largely held in check during the opening 30 minutes. Patriots running back Rex Burkhead fumbled on the opening drive, giving the Bills great field position at New England’s 31-yard line. Buffalo, however, had to settle for a field goal after moving the ball just 14 yards on six downs.
On their next drive, the Bills totaled 28 yards. Their subsequent two drives were both three-and-outs. Allen said he felt as though he missed some easy targets and attributed the shakiness to pregame jitters.
To try and settle down, Allen suggested he throw the ball more before kickoff or on the sidelines during the game. He’s hopeful the experience of Saturday’s game, along with other high-stakes games, will benefit him in the future.
“It’s one of those games you learn from,” he said. “If you don’t learn from it, it’s a complete loss.”
Though the Bills eventually put pressure on the Patriots to perform down the stretch, Allen made it clear he’s not satisfied with merely being competitive.
“It sucks,” he said. “Obviously, they’re an AFC East division rival, and that’s their consecutive whatever it is year winning the division. We got to find a way to get over that hump.”
With the 10-5 Bills still heading to the playoffs, this season is undoubtedly a start.