Skip to main content

Bills QB Josh Allen shrugs off shoulder injury for three-touchdown showing in Thursday win over Buccaneers 

This was a Josh Allen game.

The Buffalo Bills' one-man adventure ran, threw, shrugged off a shoulder injury, had an ugly play or two, and otherwise looked stellar in lifting his squad to a 24-18 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night.

"He's so tough, so competitive," said Bills head coach Sean McDermott, whose club improved to 5-3. "It didn't surprise me when they said, 'Hey, he's going back in.' But from a -- I don't know -- like a protective standpoint, you're going to have to take his helmet from him to keep him from going back out there. He's a warrior."

Other than some predicted soreness ahead, Allen said all was well with his shoulder after the victory, which was a pivotal one just four days following a stunning defeat against the New England Patriots.

"I mean, took a little fall on it, and just felt a little funky about it, but you know, just trying to keep it warm and keep it loose," Allen said. "I'll be sore for a couple days, but we'll be fine."

At evening's end, Allen had thrown for 324 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 31-of-40 passing while rushing for 41 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Allen, who leads the NFL with 22 total touchdowns (17 passing, five rushing), posted his 30th career game with a passing and rushing TD (fourth all-time) and ran for his 43rd career TD, tying Hall of Famer Steve Young for second in the history books, per NFL Research.

"He's a special player," said rookie Dalton Kincaid of Allen, who threw the rookie tight end his first NFL touchdown on Thursday night.

Allen, who injured his shoulder in Week 6 against the New York Giants, seemed to aggravate it when he rolled over on a scramble. Despite a trip to the medical tent, Allen didn't miss a snap.

"I had heard that they were taking him in there, and then he was out," McDermott said. "You know, honestly, at that point, it's like, hey, OK, Kyle (Allen)'s in and let's continue to roll. I know Kyle was ready and champing at the bit to get out there."

But there was no tale of two Allens, just Josh.

Though Allen didn't miss an offensive play, he did miss a beat when he threw a pick on his first attempt after emerging from the tent. It was his eighth interception of the season and his fourth straight game with a pick. For the most part, though, it was a speed bump for the running-and-gunning Allen.

Allen and the Bills' offense got going early in the second quarter, and it was all on the ground. Allen concluded a run-only, five-play, 23-yard mini-drive set up a by a 24-yard Deonte Harty punt return off a rare bad punt by Tampa's Jake Camarda. Allen scrambled in from 13 yards out, scoring standing up and barely touched to propel Buffalo to a 10-3 advantage.

"It just kind of opened up for me, and it was right after I landed on the shoulder, so I wasn't feeling great, so I was like, 'I don't want to take a hit,'" Allen said of the TD run. "So I just tried to not get hit."

On the ensuing Bills possession, Allen threw the aforementioned pick on a ball intended for Kincaid. It led to a Buccaneers game-tying touchdown, but Allen responded.

He captained Buffalo on a nine-play, 75-yard march that was wrapped up with a beauty of a ball to Kincaid for a 22-yard touchdown.

Another drive of exactly nine plays and 75 yards opened the second half for the Bills with Allen going 6 for 6 for 59 yards, including a 4-yard TD throw to Gabe Davis that saw the QB patiently survey his options before finding his wideout at the back of the end zone with a high toss.

It was a night in which the Bills' offense showcased progress. Allen averaged the quickest time to throw -- 2.27 seconds per play, according to Next Gen Stats -- for a game in his career. The Bills were moving, using some no-huddle and keeping an up-tempo pace. Everyone was getting involved in the passing game, too. Stefon Diggs still had a game-high 12 targets, but those were matched by Davis, who had a career-high nine receptions to go with 87 yards and the TD. Kincaid had the best game of his season (and career, for that matter considering his rookie status) and Khalil Shakir got involved early and often, leading the team with 92 yards on six grabs.

"They were playing fast," Allen said of his offensive teammates. "Obviously, when you go up-tempo, it's kind of like if you make a mistake, at least you're going full speed, and sometimes I find you that way, too, so just trying to get guys open."

As of late, the Bills' offense was sputtering a bit. Buffalo had lost two of its last three and was averaging 21 points per game in that span. The 24 posted Thursday night certainly don't jump out, but against a formidable Buccaneers defense that allowed more than 20 points just once this season, this was a get-right game for Allen and Co.

Whether they can keep going full speed ahead now becomes the question.

"Again, we're just trying to go 1-0 each week," Allen said. "It's no difference about halfway through the season. Everything we want is still in front of us, so, you know, you wish you were 8-0 at this point. You wish you were 7-1. You wish you were 6-2, and the reality is we're 5-3, but we're going to continue to take it one game at a time, and we got Sunday night next week against a really good Bengals team, so we just got to be ready for them."

Related Content