The best young quarterback playing in New York these days might be the guy in the not so highfaluting city: Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills.
Forget Sam Darnold of the Jets and Eli Manning and his heir apparent Daniel Jones of the Giants. Allen has the Bills off to their first 2-0 start in five years and just their third in 11 years by posting wins over the Jets and Giants.
The somewhat-maligned Allen ran for a touchdown, threw for another, and the Bills finished their claim on the bragging rights of New York with a 28-14 victory over the Giants on Sunday.
Allen was put under the spotlight earlier this week when Giants coach Pat Shurmur seemed to slight him, saying he felt the Wyoming product had the potential to be an NFL starter coming out of the 2018 draft. Some felt it insulted the No.7 overall pick.
Shurmur and Allen talked briefly before the game and both felt the incident was much ado about nothing.
“Everybody has their opinion and I know he didn’t mean anything like that,” said Allen, who finished 19 of 30 for 253 yards and no interceptions. “All I want to do is focus on what the Bills are doing.”
The Bills are playing well. Their defense was good after allowing Saquon Barkley to run 27 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive, and the offense gained 388 total yards without turning over the ball. Allen had four turnovers in Week 1.
Allen also is leading the way with his ability to run and pass. He scored Buffalo’s first touchdown on a 6-yard run and tossed a 14-yard to Isaiah McKenzie on a shovel pass in a 21-point first half.
“He doesn’t need any extra motivation,” veteran receiver Cole Beasley said of Allen and the Shurmur comment. “He’s motivated every week. He’s had naysayers from the beginning. It’s nothing new for him. I don’t even know if he noticed it.”
The Bills were in command after scoring on three straight touchdown drives of 75, 70 and 98 yards.
Devin Singletary scored on a 14-yard run and Frank Gore iced the game with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone with 5:53 to play.
The Giants, who were undefeated in the preseason, are off to their sixth 0-2 start since 2013 and they were booed by the fans leaving the field at halftime. They went 2-0 in 2016 in making the playoffs for the only time since 2011.
“We have great fans and they deserve to see wins,” Shurmur said. “At this point, at least through today, we haven’t won. We have to do what we can to win and help them feel better about things.”
Barkley ran for 107 yards and scored to give New York an early lead. Eli Manning threw a 4-yard, fourth-quarter TD pass to TJ Jones to get New York within a touchdown but the Bills responded with the Gore TD.
Manning finished 26 of 45 for 250 yards and two interceptions. He was booed by the mostly empty stadium after the second one with 3:34 to go.
“Obviously, it’s not how you want to start,” said Manning, who may have to start looking over his shoulder to see if Shurmur is warming up Daniel Jones. “We just have to keep fighting and find ways to play better football. That’s as simple as it comes down to. I know we can play better. I know we can do better than what we are. We have to find a way to come together as a team and win as a team.”
For the second straight week, New York rolled down the field on its opening possession. It went 75 yards on five running plays, the last by Barkley.
Allen is Buffalo’s first quarterback to pass for 200 or more yards in seven straight games since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly in 1992. He is the first Bill to run for a touchdown in three straight games since LeSean McCoy in 2016. His 192 yards in the first half were the most in his career, topping 179 against Miami last season.
Giants WR Cody Latimer left early in the fourth quarter with a concussion. New York’s top receiver Sterling Shepard missed the game with a concussion. … Singletary seemed to tweak a hamstring in the fourth quarter for the Bills. Coach Sean McDermott had no comment on injuries.
Trailing 21-7 late in the first half, Jones had a 60-yard punt return to put Giants at the Bills 33. After a 12-yard pass to Latimer, Buffalo first-round draft pick Ed Oliver tipped Manning’s pass and Trent Murphy grabbed the popup. New York was 3 for 12 on third down. In the first two weeks of the season they are 5 of 23, or 21.7%.
The Bills’ 98-yard touchdown drive is the team’s longest since a 98-yard drive in 2009 at Jacksonville.
Bills: play home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday.
Giants: travel to Tampa to play the Buccaneers next Sunday.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)