Doubters Be Dammed: Josh Allen Keeps Proving Them Wrong

Tracy Ringolsby

Josh Allen has been listening to doubters so long, he doesn't know any different.

Remember, this is the quarterback who drew up 25 miles from Fresno, and Fresno State didn't even want him to walk on out of high school.

Remember, this is the quarterback who went to junior college for a year, hoping to create some Division 1 interest, and then sent letters to 100 schools, looking for an opportunity to play.

Only one school responded -- Wyoming.

What he did at Wyoming turned into Allen becoming the sixth player selected in the NFL draft in 2018, going to a Buffalo Bills' team that was very much in need of an offensive leader.

So what happens? Well, after being forced into duty earlier than planned on as a rookie, he has emerged in his second year as the quarterback for a team that is off to a 5-1 start, very much mentioned in conversations about the NFL playoffs.

And once again the doubters are making more noise than the believers.

The well-respected football writer, Vic Carucci, pointed out the world is so upside down when it comes to Allen that even fans who claim to like him whine. Carucci mentioned in a recent column that in the aftermath of the Bills' 31-21 victory against Miami last Sunday -- a game in which Allen and Co., was booed because the Bills were trailing winless Miami -- he received an email that summed up the Allen situation.

A self-proclaimed Bills fan, upset that the local medial was too critical of Allen, did proclaim "some of his negatives seem to be inexcusable given his enormous athletic ability."

I guess you'd call that kind of support from a self-proclaimed fan to be tough love. At least that is what dad used to say as he pulled out the belt, and explained, "This is going to hurt me more than it does you."

But it doesn't hurt Allen. He's been overlooked and ignored so often he has grown accustomed to it. He also knows that if he gets a chance he will repay the believers, like he did Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl, leading the Cowboys to back-to-back bowls in his two healthy years at quarterback on the high plains of 7,220-foot elevation.

"I've come to grips with, no matter what you do, somebody is going to be upset or whatever," he told members of the Buffalo media. "That's the least of my problems. I care about winning football games, doing my job."

What those who watch Allen have to understand is he isn't Mr. Smooth, a John Elway type. Nope, he's more Ben Roethlisberger, that free-lancing, ultra-competitive spark for an offense.

Look, he ranks 32nd out of 33 NFL quarterbacks with a 42.7 passing rating on throw for at least 20 years. But he also ranks No. 1 on passes of 19 yards or less with an 87.1, completing 109 of 139 attempts for 1,045 yards. Oh, and 11 of the incomplete passes have come on drops.

And just as significant, his fourth-quarter passer rating is 139.6, the best in the NFL, which is why he has been able to lead the Bills on five fourth-quarterback comebacks in his last than two years -- three of them this year. 

Buffalo quarterback coach Ken Dorsey, a former NFL quarterback himself, told Carucci it is all a part of the world we live in.

"Everybody wants more," Dorsey said. "You want the second scoop of ice cream. You want the giant fries, not the small. It's a natural tendency, which, in a way, for us, competitively, good. If that's something that's out there for Josh, so be it. It keeps pushing him, forcing him to get better.

"In terms of Josh, and who he is, he's a confident guy that doesn't let that stuff bother him. At the end of the day the most important thing to hi is the team. The best part of Josh is he really doesn't care if he throws the ball 50 times or 20 times or five times. The important thing to him is the team and whatever he can do to help the team."

And what drives Allen is not criticism from outside, but rather his own desire to get better.

He said he would love to throw for 300-plus yards a game, see the Bills be 6-0 instead of 5-1, and blow out the opposition by 42 points a game. But that's not reality.

"Guys on the defensive side get paid, too," he told Carucci. 

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