Josh Allen gave a valiant effort Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but at what cost?
The Bills quarterback threw for 308 yards on 54 attempts and rushed for a team-high 109 yards on 12 attempts to help Buffalo force overtime in an eventual overtime loss in Tampa Bay.
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Allen also suffered a foot injury on one of those rushing attempts late in the fourth quarter and was in a walking boot after the game. The injury is believed to be turf toe, and he's scheduled to get an MRI on Monday.
Allen finished the game despite the injury, and it's possible he doesn't miss any time. But after the game, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians wondered aloud if the Bills are playing with fire by letting Allen run so much.
"He’s more like Cam Newton, but with a bigger and stronger arm," Arians in his postgame press conference. "We talked about, the designed quarterback runs are tough. I wouldn’t put my quarterback in that much of harm’s way because he did get nicked up a little bit. But they did a heck of a job with it."
Allen indeed is central to the Bills' rushing attack: He ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards (531) and averages 6.7 rush attempts per game. He accounted for all four of Buffalo's rush attempts in the first half Sunday, as the team didn't hand off to a running back until the third quarter.
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That strategy is a double-edged sword: Allen is very effective as a runner (6.1 yards per carry), and his threat to run helps him excel in the passing game. But the more Allen runs, the more the Bills' franchise quarterback is exposed to potential injury.
Buffalo needs a healthy Allen for the stretch run, too. The Bills are clinging to the final Wild Card spot in the AFC and have a must-win matchup with the Patriots two weeks from now.