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The Bills' Super Bowl hopes came to a crushing end because of what they ask Josh Allen to do


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There’s zero question Josh Allen is one of the NFL’s 2-3 best players. The Buffalo Bills have ascended back to prominence precisely because Allen can play like a freak alien.

One specific possession could see the superstar quarterback launch a dart down the sideline to Stefon Diggs. On the next play, he might take a QB power and bowl over a helpless defender who should have never tried to test a Human Terminator’s physicality. Then, with the chips down and a relentless pass rush hunting him, Allen will usually somehow find a man while making an impossible off-platform throw.

Even with some bona fide gunslinger turnover issues, Allen is an absolute treat to watch as a player who clearly elevates his teammates. But after the Cincinnati Bengals flat-out bullied the Bills in a 27-10 divisional-round win Sunday — ending their Super Bowl 57 hopes — it’s time the powers that be in Buffalo have an honest reflection about what went wrong. At least if they want to finally bring a championship to Western New York.

They simply ask Allen to do too much.

None of this is to say that the Bills shouldn’t lean on their best player to make plays when they need him to.

After all, the Kansas City Chiefs wouldn’t be the league’s gold standard if Patrick Mahomes wasn’t a magician. The Bengals that knocked Allen and the Bills out also probably wouldn’t be playing on their second consecutive Championship Sunday if Joe Burrow wasn’t the smoothest conductor of an offense. And the Bills wouldn’t epitomize what it means to practically and perfectly harness a beyond-chaotic approach to football if Allen himself didn’t throw caution to the wind almost every instance he touches the ball.

The distinction between Allen and the Bills and his elite peers now playing for the AFC title is that their franchises understand quarterbacks still need a sturdy support beam to lean on.

The Chiefs and Mahomes have Andy Reid’s play-calling as the generational offensive coach designs an impeccable scheme elevating the top traits of his red and gold talisman. The Bengals and Burrow get to implement Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins — two legit WR1s comprising the premier receiving duo in football — into their playbook every week. If a modern offense has two more comfortable security blankets complementing each other, tilting the field on the same roster: I’m unaware of its existence.

Do you know what Allen has in his tool belt?

He’s got one legitimately consistent receiver in Diggs and a first-year offensive coordinator in Ken Dorsey, who couldn’t seem more flustered in just giving his QB “easy” plays. When Brian Daboll was at the helm of this essentially identical Buffalo attack, Allen had consistent gimmes that allowed him to establish a quality rhythm. His ease was palpable. With Dorsey acting as the offensive maestro, if a defense effectively brackets Diggs out of the game — who had a paltry four catches for 35 yards on Sunday — Allen is usually forced to make chicken salad out of chicken, well, you know. The next time someone like Gabriel Davis (836 yards in the regular season) comes through with Diggs as a non-factor might be the first.

Big plays like this to Khalil Shakir were more or less the norm for the Allen-Dorsey-Diggs Bills in Year 1. Either Allen is spotless with his deliveries in inconceivable traffic, which he sometimes is (that’s why he’s so special), or the Bills’ offense is caught in No Man’s Land.

There’s no in-between or grey area for the Bills, and that’s a massive fatal flaw for a squad that fancies itself a contender.

The same sentiments can apply to their overzealous offensive mentality. The Bills like to profess how much they appreciate maintaining a home-run mentality. They like to say Allen should “keep on throwing” regardless of risk, irrespective of potential turnovers. Never mind that Diggs is their only reliable pass target. Never mind that the defense gets paid, too. They’ll send Diggs and his friends deep seemingly every other play because they think that’s how offensive football is won. It’s stubborn and reeks of a team incapable of looking in the mirror.

Here’s how that absurd thought process worked out for Buffalo — which threw the ball FORTY-TWO times — against the Bengals, possession by possession:

Three plays, nine yards, punt Three plays, five yards, punt 15 plays, 75 yards, and a touchdown (on a drive where Allen went god-mode) Seven plays, 39 yards, a punt 14 plays, 65 yards, and a field goal (another superhuman Allen possession) Three plays, eight yards, a punt Ten plays, 59 yards, turnover on downs Eight plays, 53 yards, a pressed Allen forcing a terrible gam-ending INT

Does this resemble a coherent title-worthy offense? If the Bengals are dominating the trenches, does it make sense to keep going for the kill shot, subjecting Allen to eight quarterback hits? Who in their right mind thought this was a Super Bowl-worthy mix that could go all the way? Certainly, no one with any legitimate credence as to what it takes to advance to February’s Big Game.

Earlier in the regular season, the greater Buffalo area liked to profess that Allen was a legitimate MVP candidate (he was). Their main argument was that Allen achieved so much for the Bills’ offense, accounting for an overwhelming percentage of their yards from scrimmage. Their assertion was valid in reference to a 4,200-yard-plus passer with over 740 touches (!) as the team’s simultaneous second-leading rusher with 762 yards (not all that far behind Devin Singletary’s 819).

But putting that much responsibility on your quarterback’s plate doesn’t translate to a successful winter. It might beat the mediocre Dolphins and the Patriots of the world — the organization’s last two postseason wins. That’s to be expected. It won’t beat Burrow’s Bengals, and it definitely won’t beat Mahomes’ Chiefs. One player’s talent, no matter how bright, isn’t perpetual for all 60 minutes of every game. The margins are too thin.

If the Bills want to finally get the Super Bowl monkey off their back in the years ahead, they shouldn’t necessarily dial Allen’s courage back. They should, however, make his personal brand of controlled mayhem worth the calories. Anything less and more trademark heartbreaking Bills’ postseason defeats are inevitable.

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“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

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He seemed emotionally and physically spent this year. Begging Beane to bring back Beasely and Brown was out of pure desperation. "Just give me something."

The blueprint is out on this team as it's constructed today. Shut down Diggs by whatever means necessary and bring the house against our shitty line. Always a successful strategy against us.

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he was never the same after the Jets game. Showed flashes but went from a laser accurate robot machine that was leading the MVP race to a guy who lost his accuracy and just was doing things he hasnt done sine 2019.  It was clearly the injury to his elbow, and any doubt it was still bothering him went out the window with his reaction to the hit yesterday.

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Sin is nothing to celebrate, have pride in, or hold parades for. The rainbow is a symbol of promise not a symbol of depravity.

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