Bills rookie QB Allen draws upon lessons from Philip Rivers
By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Josh Allen learned plenty while working out with Los Angeles Chargers starter Philip Rivers in Southern California in March before the Buffalo Bills drafted him in the first round.
Allen hopes he picked up a few more pointers during his first career start in watching how Rivers carved into the Bills defense during the first half of the Chargers 31-20 win on Sunday.
“You know he gets the ball out super quick. He’s not afraid to throw it one yard in front of him,” Allen said, while also noting how Rivers controlled the play clock and set his protections. “To have my first start against him, a guy that kind of helped mentor me, was definitely kind of cool.”
The Wyoming product didn’t come close to matching Rivers in a game the Chargers broke open by building a 28-3 lead in scoring touchdowns on four consecutive drives in the first half. And yet, the Bills showed more spark under Allen than they did under Nathan Peterman in a 47-3 season-opening loss at Baltimore a week earlier.
Allen finished 18 of 33 for 245 yards with a touchdown. Though he threw two interceptions and was sacked five times, he also showed off his strong arm by completing a 57-yard pass to Zay Jones in the closing minutes of the second quarter.
Rivers liked what he saw.
“Each and every week he’s going to improve,” said Rivers, who finished 23 of 27 for 256 yards and three touchdowns . “There’s going to be some ups and downs. There always is. There still is for me in year 15. But I think he’s got the right approach.”
The Chargers offense was less productive but more efficient a week after lacking finish in racking up 541 yards in a 38-28 loss to Kansas City.
Melvin Gordon matched a career high by scoring three touchdowns, two receiving and another on a 20-yard run .
Their defense limited Buffalo to 293 yards of offense, while also applying pressure despite missing linemen Joey Bosa (foot) and Corey Liuget (suspension).
Rivers became the ninth NFL player to surpass 51,000 career-yards passing by upping his total to 51,028.
Some things that stood out in a game:
Bills cornerback Vontae Davis informed coach Sean McDermott he was quitting the team at halftime, and then announced he was retiring after 10 NFL seasons a few hours following the game.
“This isn’t how I pictured retiring from the NFL,” he wrote in a statement posted on the NFL’s Twitter account. “But today on the field, reality hit me and hard. I shouldn’t be out there anymore.”
Davis’ abrupt departure didn’t sit well with his now-former teammates.
“I don’t have nothing to say about Vontae. I’ll give him a little bit more respect than he showed us today as far as quitting,” defensive end Lorenzo Alexander said.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn was angered by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that second-year cornerback Desmond King II received in the first quarter. After the Bills threw an incomplete pass on third down, King waved goodbye at Buffalo receiver Zay Jones and pantomimed a kicking motion before leaving the field.
“Very stupid on his part,” Lynn said, who expressed his disappointment to King on the sidelined.
“I can’t say it on camera,” he said when asked what he told King.
SHADY IN PAIN
Bills running back LeSean McCoy’s status is uncertain after sustaining a rib injury in the final minutes of the third quarter. McCoy was tackled from behind when Buffalo center Ryan Groy fell backward and landed on left side of the running back’s chest.
McCoy was still experiencing pain during a brief appearance in the locker room.
McDermott revealed he took over the defensive play-calling duties from coordinator Leslie Frazier to start the second half. The switch showed immediate dividends. Buffalo allowed 65 yards of offense, four first downs and a field goal, while generating two sacks over the final 30 minutes.
The Chargers prepare for their first regular-season meeting against their new crosstown rival Rams next week.
“It’s a heck of a defense and we know what we’ve got over there against Wade’s scheme,” Rivers said, referring to Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. “But looking forward to that and that atmosphere.”
The Bills are off to their second 0-2 start in three seasons, and face a daunting tests in each of their next two games. Buffalo plays at Minnesota next week, followed by a trip to Green Bay.
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