Just as the Pittsburgh Steelers finished chasing around Kyler Murray in Week 14, they now have to face another quarterback who isn’t afraid of running the ball in Week 15. Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills is a different breed when it comes to quarterback in the NFL. He isn’t a small and scampering quarterback, but is big, athletic and fearless as a runner.
Quite the opposite of the 2019 top overall draft pick the Steelers faced when they beat the Arizona Cardinals Sunday. But other than stature, Mike Tomlin spoke about the differences between facing a quarterback like Murray and Allen during his weekly press conference Tuesday.
“There are probably more designed runs in Buffalo, to be honest with you, than Arizona.” Tomlin said. “So, we’re probably going to be challenged more in that area than we were a week ago. He’s in year two of his career, and year two in Buffalo, and obviously Murray’s in year one. So, the depths of the foundation or the understanding is probably reasonably further down the road, and I think that’s evident when you look at the video.”
When it pertains to Allen’s overall rushing ability, he currently ranks third on the team in total rushing, behind only Frank Gore and Devin Singletary.
Here are Allen’s rushing stats heading into Week 15:
95 attempts, 439 yards, 8 TDs, 4.6 yards per attempt
Those are pretty impressive statistics for a second year quarterback, and his touchdowns prove just how big of a threat he is to run when the Bills’ offense gets into the red-zone. In last week’s 24-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Buffalo, Allen rushed only 2 times for 9 yards, fumbled twice and lost one of those fumbles.
During the game Allen was seen on the sideline getting his ankle taped after he was sacked 6 times throughout the AFC grudge match. While the injury is deemed to be minor, and Allen didn’t miss any game action in Week 14, you have to wonder if it hindered his ability to run the football.
Running the ball has always been a part of Allen’s game, dating back to his days in Wyoming. Tomlin was asked about this during his press conference.
“You know, he was in that group that was at the top of the draft. I didn’t waste a lot of time looking at those guys. Everybody knows in that draft; I was looking at safeties anyway.”
When facing Murray last Sunday the Steelers deployed a spy on Murray on more than one occasion. Players like Mark Barron, Vince Williams, Devin Bush and a slew of defensive backs were all deployed to key on Murray at all times. The design worked as Murray was bottled up for the majority of the game and never hurt the Steelers with his legs.
Allen is a different beast, and you have to think the defense going against Murray in Week 14 will only help their preparation in Week 15. If you bottle up Allen, and force him to throw the ball to beat you, you will significantly increase your chances of victory.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they gear up for the Bills on Sunday Night Football in Week 15.