But there was no story of two Allens, only Josh.
While Allen didn’t miss a snap, he did miss a beat when he threw a pick on his first attempt after coming out of the bullpen. It was his eighth interception of the season and fourth straight game with a pick. For the most part, though, it was a speed bump for the run-and-run Allen.
Allen and the Bills offense got going early in the second quarter and it was all on the ground. Allen capped a five-play, drive-only 23-yard mini-drive that was set up by a 24-yard Deonte Harty punt that returned a rare bad punt by Tampa’s Jake Camarda. Allen scampered in from 13 yards out, scored standing and barely touched to propel Buffalo to a 10-3 lead.
“It just opened up for me and it was right after I hit my shoulder, so it didn’t feel right, so I was like, ‘I don’t want to take a hit,'” Allen said of the TD run. “So I just tried not to get hit”.
On the Bills’ ensuing possession, Allen threw the aforementioned force on a ball intended for Kincaid. That led to a Buccaneers touchdown, but Allen responded.
He led Buffalo on a nine-play, 75-yard march that ended with a beauty of a ball to Kincaid for a 22-yard touchdown.
Another drive of exactly nine plays and 75 yards opened the second half for the Bills as Allen went 6-for-6 for 59 yards, including a 4-yard TD toss to Gabe Davis that saw the QB patiently explore his options before finding a wide-open field goal . in the back of the end zone with a high throw.
It was a night where the Bills offense showed improvement. Allen averaged the fastest time to throw — 2.27 seconds per game, according to Next Generation Stats — for a game in his career. The Bills were moving, using some negativity and keeping pace. Everyone also participated in the passing game. Stefon Diggs still had 12 catches in the game, but Davis, who had a career-high nine receptions, matched that feat with 87 yards and a TD. Kincaid had the best game of his season (and career, for that matter considering his rookie status) and Khalil Shakir got involved early and often, leading the team with 92 yards on six catches.
“They were playing fast,” Allen said of his offensive teammates. “Obviously, when you go up-tempo, it’s like if you make a mistake, at least you’re going full speed, and sometimes I feel like you are, so just trying to get guys open.
Lately, the Bills offense has been sputtering a bit. Buffalo had lost two of its last three and was averaging 21 points per game during that stretch. The 24 posted Thursday night certainly don’t jump out, but against a formidable Buccaneers defense that allowed more than 20 points just once this season, it was the right game for Allen and Co.
Now the question is whether they can continue at full speed.
“Again, we’re just trying to go 1-0 every week,” Allen said. “There’s no difference halfway through the season. Everything we want is still in front of us, so you know, you wish you were 8-0 at this point. You wish you were 7-1. You wish you were 6-0 2, and the fact is we’re 5-3, but we’re going to keep taking it one game at a time, and we’ve got Sunday night next week against a very good Bengals team, so we’ve just got to be ready for them .”