NFL GAME PREVIEW

Allen could kick-start his season vs. Washington D

Field Level Media

September 23, 2021 at 3:11 am.

The Buffalo Bills hope this is the week quarterback Josh Allen gets untracked when they face the Washington Football Team on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Allen recently received a six-year, $258 million extension but is off to a rather pedestrian start for the Bills. He is completing just 56 percent of his throws and ranks 27th in the NFL with 449 passing yards. That’s far from the production expected from a preseason MVP candidate. But the 25-year-old Allen said he isn’t concerned, particularly with Buffalo (1-1) coming off a 35-0 rout of the Miami Dolphins.

“The job of the quarterback is to put your team in position to score points and do whatever it takes to win a football game,” Allen said in his Wednesday media availability. “That’s what we did last week and I don’t really care what anybody else thinks.

“I care about what people in the locker room think. It’s no secret I didn’t play great and I didn’t play great the week before. Just got to work through it.”

The slow start is magnified by the big contract but also by Allen’s 2020 production, when he led the Bills to the AFC Championship Game. He passed for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions and added 421 yards and eight scores on the ground while finishing second in NFL MVP balloting behind Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

Also, Allen is notoriously hard on himself, which is just fine with Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.

“He wants to be so good,” Daboll told reporters on Wednesday. “That’s a great thing to have, too, because this league is a tough league. There’s tough opponents, there’s tough coaching staffs, there’s tough teams to go against, and you’re not going to be perfect every week.”

Allen’s stat line could improve drastically against Washington (1-1), which is allowing 24.5 points and 407 yards per game. The yardage ranks 25th in the NFL.

Washington also has trouble getting off the field as it ranks 30th in the NFL in third-down conversion defense (58.1).

“We just have to do better,” said Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, who has a team-leading three sacks. “It’s not like the issues are we’re just not good enough. We obviously have the talent. We just got to focus on the little things, and honestly, thank God our offense was there to save us time and time again.”

Washington was able to outscore the New York Giants 30-29 on Sept. 16 on the national television stage.

Taylor Heinicke drew the start with Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip) on injured reserve and passed for 336 yards and two touchdowns along with one interception.
That start was just the third of Heinicke’s career — that includes his stellar postseason outing in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season — and he is looking to build on it.

“My biggest thing is I don’t want the success from last week to equal the non-success of this week,” Heinicke told reporters. “Sometimes a lot of people get caught up in how they played the previous week, and it hurts them the next week. So, we had a long weekend, it was nice to enjoy it, but once Sunday and Monday came around, it was time for Buffalo.”

Washington tight end Matt Ioannidis (knee) sat out Wednesday’s practice, while running back Antonio Gibson (shoulder) was a limited participant.

Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (groin) missed practice. Receiver Gabriel Davis (ankle), safety Micah Hyde (neck) and cornerback Dane Jackson (knee) were limited.

Buffalo has won seven of the past eight regular-season meetings, including a 24-9 home win in 2019.