Hard to say what was more impressive by Josh Allen in the Buffalo Bills‘ 31-10 throttling of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFL’s 2022 curtain-lifter:
When he stiff-armed Rams DB Nick Scott into oblivion while gaining a first down and a few more of his team-high 56 rushing yards.
When he rolled to his right to escape pressure and, while on the move, flicked a deep touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs that traveled 55.2 air yards.
Or after the game, when Bills PR sent out this stat almost too hard to believe: Josh Allen’s 83.9% completion percentage established a new team record for a single game.
Keep in mind the Bills have been around since 1960 and had a dude named Jim Kelly play for them.
Josh Allen is a total unicorn
All of this led your humble correspondent to tweet something that I thought was pretty obvious late in the evening: “We’ve never seen a player quite like this.”
I didn’t say we never saw a player better. I just suggested that we never saw a player with this exact set of very valuable traits.
Could I have been more precise with my wording? Sure. But I don’t think that would have mattered, considering how many respondents felt like the tweet was either an erasure of Cam Newton or an intentional expression of disrespect.
And certainly, there are similarities between those players. They’re almost identical in size, their impact on their teams, and their run-over-anybody temperament. (Allen led the league in yards per carry last year and, even more remarkably, was seventh in yards after contact.)
Comparison To Cam Newton
Peak Cam was a joy to watch. He carried the Panthers to the Super Bowl and was a deserving MVP in 2015. But — even with fantastic arm strength — he simply wasn’t the passer Allen is. Allen has Top 3 (at worst) arm talent in a golden era of quarterbacks.
Allen’s arm strength is insane. And his accuracy — after a rocky start to his career — is next level too.
Cam, in his MVP season, was eighth in EPA/play (.171), 15th in CPOE (0.1), seventh in yards per attempt (7.8), eighth in passer rating (99.4), and 11th in QBR (61.4). Those are Pro Bowl-worthy stats, for sure.
And when you combine them with his 10 rushing touchdowns and 636 yards on the ground, you have a worthy MVP. But the truth is that Newton wasn’t one of the five-best passers in the league in his best passing season — which, it should be said, did not have the quality of quarterbacks that are playing now.
Meanwhile, Allen in 2020 — when Greg McElroy on ESPN rightly called him “Cam Newton, but more accurate” — put up the following stats: Fourth in EPA/play (.283), third in CPOE (6.6), fifth in yards per attempt (7.9), fourth in passer rating (107.2) and third in QBR (76.6).
Allen In The 2021 Playoffs
The 2021 regular season was a step back for Allen, but he was still excellent: eighth in EPA/play (.169), 12th in CPOE (2.1), 23rd in yards per attempt (6.8), 16th in passer rating (92.2) and sixth in QBR (60.7).
But when he got to the 2021 playoffs, Allen went nuclear. He threw nine touchdowns and no interceptions — becoming the first player in NFL history to do so in any two-game postseason span.
He’s a one-of-one talent, and at just 26 years old, he might still be getting better. Newton, meanwhile, had another way to describe him late Thursday night: Godlike.