With the goal of paving a clear path to another AFC East title, the Buffalo Bills unleashed star quarterback Josh Allen against the rival New England Patriots in Week 16. Not only did the fourth-year starter throw for 314 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-21 road win at Gillette Stadium, but he also rushed for a team-high 64 yards on 12 carries.
The Bills didn't take full advantage of Allen's scrambling ability in their Week 13 loss to the Patriots, when frigid temperatures and strong wind gusts disrupted the passing game and eliminated home-field advantage.
So, how will the team utilize Allen's dual-threat skills in a Wild Card rubber match that's expected to be extremely cold on Saturday night?
"One of the ways that Josh has become more effective is, the threat of the run without running the football," Bills legendary special teamer Steve Tasker told The DA Show on Thursday. "Certainly he picks his spots extremely well. Even this last week against the [New York] Jets, he didn't have his number called very much in the run game, but he snapped off a 32-yard scramble. And those kinds of plays are devastating for a defense.
"I think the Bills are very willing to let him sit in the pocket and pick his spots when to run. They'll call the occasional RPO. But they know, in the long-term, they're going to win with Allen and don't want to use him up... If they need him, they will. One place they might use his running ability is in the red-zone, down close. His ability to run in the red zone and get into the end zone really gives them an edge over most teams they play."
Allen's regular season numbers were unique. He became the first quarterback in league history to throw for 4,000-plus yards and run for 750-plus yards in a single campaign, accomplishing the feat in Week 18. Allen is also the very first player in history with 100 passing touchdowns and 30 rushing touchdowns in his first four seasons, and since entering the league in 2018, he's gained the second-most all-purpose yards (2,316) by a quarterback.
Buffalo (11-6) and New England (10-7) are scheduled to kick off at 8:15 p.m. EST on Saturday in Orchard Park. According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the Bills have a 70% chance to advance to the AFC Divisional Round and a 16% chance to reach Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.
The entire football conversation between Tasker and DA can be accessed in the audio player below: