Buffalo Bills on cusp of ending 25-year divisional drought


December 18, 2020 2:25 AM

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Allen, who barely completed half of his passes as a rookie, is close to a 70% passer now and he has a franchise-record 35 combined touchdowns and just nine interceptions with three games remaining beginning Saturday at Empower Field.

“He’s having a hell of a season,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “He’s a big, strong guy who can run. He’s tough to tackle in the pocket and he’s tough to tackle when he breaks out of the pocket. ... The guy has really emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the league.”

Allen credits continuity for his metamorphosis in Buffalo, where Sean McDermott has been his head coach and Brian Daboll his offensive coordinator ever since he was the seventh overall selection in the 2018 draft.

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“I think it would have definitely made it more difficult” not to have that stability, Allen said. “Having the same verbiage and concepts and the relationships I do with Daboll has been extremely helpful. Scheme-wise, knowing my protections, knowing the concepts that I like and Daboll understanding the concepts I don’t like, if we had to switch it up, it’d be tough.

“Nobody likes to be thrown in a new system, especially if you feel comfortable with the one you’re in now. I’m thankful we’ve had the same guys for the last three years.”

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Lock is already on his second offensive coordinator and second quarterbacks coach in just his second NFL season, and this week he made a pitch for OC Pat Shurmur and his position coach Mike Shula to return in 2021.

“That’d be awesome,” said Lock, who’s had six offensive coordinators in seven years going back to his time at the University of Missouri, including Rich Scangarello last year. “I feel like having the same play-caller in this organization for more than one year would be huge for us.”

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Lock is coming off his best game as a pro, a four-touchdown, no-interception masterpiece at Carolina in which he posted an NFL-best 149.5 passer rating.

With Saturday’s game marking his 16th start in the pros, Lock’s statistics look like this: an 8-7 record with 20 touchdown throws, 16 interceptions and a 59.5 percent completion rate.

“It kind of all came together for us” last week, Shurmur said. “Nobody likes to hear this, but it takes a little time. It takes a little time for a system to kick in, it takes a little time for a quarterback to learn those things that he needs to learn so that he can be efficient, explosive and effective and stay away from those mistakes that have hurt us.”