Bills' Josh Allen vs. winning teams: 'Staying patient' is key

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen doesn't believe he pressed too hard during the team's Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Even with Patrick Mahomes, the league's reigning Super Bowl MVP, watching from the opposite sideline, the Bills quarterback didn't feel pressure to perform.

Allen realizes it's possible to focus too much on that aspect of a game but stopped short of doing so that night.

"I don't know if I was pressing early on," he said. "I had a couple opportunities down the field that we didn't hit on, and I've got to be better. But whether it's understanding the situation, knowing that their guy is extremely good, and we don't want to give him more possessions than he needs -- maybe that thought process and that mindset can take precedent over [scoring] touchdowns, first.

"It's a learning moment, we're not going to let one game define us."

Either way, Allen's performance has been a recurring theme over the past three years, one that he must keep from becoming a defining trend.

With the loss to the Chiefs, Allen is 1-6 against teams that entered the game at least three games above .500 and while the blame for each loss does not fall solely on him, he has thrown nine touchdowns against nine interceptions in those seven games with a completion percentage of 51%, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

It is important to add context to some of those seven games; Buffalo's Week 16 loss to New England in 2018 came during Allen's rookie season, and he had the team in position to take the lead during a Week 4 loss to the Patriots in 2019 before being knocked out of the game, although he threw three interceptions in what was arguably the worst performance of his pro career.

But during games against Baltimore and New England in Weeks 14 and 16 last season, respectively, Allen's play was erratic in one-score losses.

He began the 2020 season as the NFL's second-leading passer through four weeks but looked more like his 2019 self in the losses against the Tennessee Titans and Chiefs over the past two weeks.

Opposing defenses have somewhat caught up to the Bills' blazing offense after four weeks' worth of film to study. Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs said the Titans and Chiefs limited the Bills' explosive plays by using more zone than Buffalo's previous four opponents.

"I've got to do a better job of staying patient and taking what they give me early on," Allen said. "Force them to come up and really try to take our outlets away, and that's when we'll get our chunk plays. ... If you start completing the underneath stuff, the defenses react and they're going to have to play up and defend that, too. We've got to make them defend all parts of the field, and I haven't been doing a good enough job of that the past couple weeks."

Allen's lone win against a team with a record of at least three games above .500 came in Week 15 last season when the Bills beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to clinch a playoff spot. But even that game deserves a caveat, considering Pittsburgh played its third-string quarterback, Devlin Hodges, who threw four interceptions. Buffalo won that game by a touchdown.

Buffalo travels to play the New York Jets (0-6) on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS), but Allen will likely have opportunities to improve on that 1-6 record throughout this season; the Bills play the Seahawks (5-0) in Week 9, the Cardinals (4-2) in Week 10 and the Steelers (5-0) in Week 14. When those games come, the Bills' coaching staff is confident he can get the job done because as Allen said himself, "this team can't afford for me to play poorly."

While there is a sense of urgency in Buffalo's locker room to turn around the two-game losing streak, it doesn't sound like anyone inside it is losing sleep over Allen's game.

"We all can do a better job," Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said. "Josh will be fine."