KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen's fourth-quarter hurdle is the highlight that will be shown again and again after his winning performance against the Kansas City Chiefs. A quarterback hurdling a cornerback to gain a first down doesn’t happen every day.
“Knowing the situation and how the game was going, I just felt like we needed something to get a first down there,” Allen said. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help our team win a football game. In my mind, that was at the top of the list.”
But that was just one of several big moments on a seven-play, almost eight-minute fourth-quarter drive that helped the Bills (4-1) secure a 38-21 win. That drive was one example of how Allen made gutsy plays to lead the offense to 30-plus points for a fourth straight week.
“You saw the drive that Josh put together,” coach Sean McDermott said. “I thought that was a phenomenal drive.”
Buffalo and Allen were far from perfect in the victory, but that’s what should make it that much more intimidating for the rest of the NFL. Allen’s ability to rush and improvise helped lead to a statement win against the two-time defending AFC champions that reinforced the high ceiling for this team.
“I know we didn’t have a lot of plays, didn’t really have a lot of third downs, or really a lot of first downs but we had a lot of explosive plays,” Allen said. “Guys got open and made some unbelievable plays.”
Allen made “unbelievable” plays of his own, both with his legs and through the air.
He finished as the team’s leading rusher with 11 carries for 59 yards and a score. The quarterback’s biggest success in the air came downfield, completing 15 of 26 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns. His 21 yards per completion were a career high and the most by any quarterback in the past two seasons. He threw for a career-high 213 deep passing yards, per NFL Next Gen Stats.
It was also Allen’s fourth career game with three passing touchdowns, zero interceptions and one rushing touchdown -- fourth most in NFL history.
The first drive consisted almost entirely of the quarterback running. Throughout the game there were off-script throws downfield, especially to tight end Dawson Knox, who finished with over 100 receiving yards for the first time in his career.
“[No.] 17 is special,” wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. “... This dude was special tonight. He’s a special quarterback and I played with a lot of great ones.”
One of those jaw-dropping plays was the first of two touchdown passes to Sanders -- a 35-yard dime that the wide receiver described as sticking to his hands.
“After I caught it, I didn't even know what to do, because I just kept thinking like, 'Yo, that bro was crazy,’” Sanders said.
A significant part of the Bills’ early lead came thanks to Allen’s ability to move around and find receivers downfield, like the 53-yard touchdown pass to Knox in the third quarter on what seemed like a play with no chance.
“The whole time it's in the air, I'm just like, 'Gotta catch it, gotta catch it,’” Knox said of the play.
The Bills have scored at least 35 points in each of the past four games (with some help from safety Micah Hyde’s pick-six this week).
Allen outplayed his counterpart, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, by a significant margin. While Mahomes had his moments, it was Allen who was extending plays and proved difficult to bring down. Allen wasn't sacked once -- thanks in part to his offensive line -- and did not make any big mistakes. You might even call it an MVP-type performance.
It was the first time an opposing quarterback had more passing yards, passing touchdowns and rushing touchdowns than Mahomes in his career.
What now for the Bills? The hurdle of beating the Chiefs has been cleared. Allen has now put himself in the MVP race and shown concerns about him early in the season were overblown.
The Bills have the No. 1 scoring offense (34.4) and No. 1 scoring defense (12.8) with a plus-108 scoring differential. With the way the Bills defense has been playing all season long, it was imperative for opponents to find a way to limit the Bills' big plays. Now, looking through the conference, it’s hard to find a team that will be able to do so if Allen is playing at this level. On top of that, the Bills have the second-easiest remaining strength of schedule, according to ESPN's FPI. This group will be hard to stop.
With Allen becoming more dynamic and playing like a quarterback who received a six-year, $258 million extension prior to the season, the Bills will take his hurdling, scrambling and anything else he does on the field.
“I’ll take that first down,” McDermott joked after the game about the hurdle. “He can jump over me if he wants to.”