Sport

Josh Allen’s running is risky, but very effective

When Bills quarterback Josh Allen entered the league four years ago, it quickly became apparent that he’s a genuine threat in the running game. By his second year, the Bills started using him a bit more sparingly, until the postseason rolled around and they unleashed him against the Texans.

Now in his fifth year, it’s fair to wonder whether Allen will be running more than usual. With 10 carries for 56 yards on Thursday night (one was a kneel down in victory formation), he has 13 career regular-season games with 10 or more carries. He averages 6.96 carries per game.

The Bills execute roughly four designed runs per game with Allen. In the Week One win over the Rams, it looks as if the Bills called an Allen run four times, with five runs coming via scrambles.

His most memorable two plays on Thursday night — a stiff-arm on third down and his rushing touchdown to push the margin to 24-10 — came after Allen decided that no one was open so he’d pull the ball down and go. It worked. Most importantly, he avoided getting himself hurt. The question is whether he can continue to strike the balance between running the ball effectively and not getting himself injured.

The more hits any quarterback takes, the greater the chance he’ll get injured. That reality applies no matter how big, strong, and fast the quarterback may be. Allen’s running can be a very potent weapon. But it definitely raises the stakes. Especially if officials are no longer going to protect quarterbacks who morph into running backs.