Mike Tomlin, never one to shy away from talking up an opponent, didn’t hold back in his praise of Buffalo Bills’ QB Josh Allen. Rightfully so. Allen is having the definition of a breakout year, boosting his numbers in every single passing category. On Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers, he carved them up to the tune of 375 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Speaking with Bob Pompeani on The Mike Tomlin show, Tomlin broke down Allen’s impressive game.
“Whew, man, he’s a big problem,” Tomlin said. “He’s a problem with his ability to throw. He’s a problem with his ability to scramble and extend plays with his legs.”
Allen certainly has some early-career Ben Roethlisberger elements to his game. Players partially overlooked because of the smaller colleges they played at. Guys who are big, strong, able to extend the play, and fearless making throws downfield. Allen is on pace to set a franchise record for most TD passes in a season, breaking a decades long mark held by Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. Kelly had 33 touchdowns in 1991; Allen sits at 26 with a month of the season remaining.
Tomlin made it clear Allen is a dual threat quarterback. Pittsburgh must account for his legs in addition to his arm.
“He’s also a problem in terms of what they’re willing to do in terms of utilizing that mobility in terms of some designed QB runs. He’s their second leading rusher with over 300 yards rushing on the season. So the schematics and his abilities create a lethal tandem that we have to contend with.”
Allen also is the team leader with six rushing scores this season. All of them have come inside the five yard line, utilizing his size and strength on QB sneaks or draws. He’s also able to keep the play alive outside the pocket, making “plastering” as a secondary and rush lane integrity all the more critical tonight.
Tomlin also credited the weapons Allen has to throw to this year. That’s led by Stefon Diggs, who the team traded for in the offseason in a blockbuster deal. Buffalo traded four draft picks to get him, including their 2020 first round selection.
In last year’s game against the Steelers, Allen had a subdued 13/25, 139 yard, 1 TD, 1 INT performance. It was enough to give the Bills the win. Given how well Allen is playing this year, it’s extremely unlikely the Steelers’ defense is able to hold him in check to that degree again.