OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens have no plans to change their lightning-fast paths against Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who was among the best at dealing with pressure this season.
On the way to Saturday’s AFC division game, the Ravens hit an NFL high 41% of the time. Allen prevailed against lightning and threw 19 touchdown passes in the top division against pressure.
For some defenses, this might be cause for concern – but apparently not for Baltimore.
“He knows there will be pressure, that’s for sure,” said Raven defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale on Wednesday. “We are. We did.”
Allen was named his first Pro Bowl that season after becoming the first quarterback to exceed 4,500 yards of passing, 35 touchdown passes, and five blistering touchdowns in a single season. At 6-foot-5, 237 pounds, Allen has the ability to shrug off pass rushers and hit the defense with deep downfield passes.
In discussing Allen with his defensive coaching staff, Martindale described the challenge of facing the quarterback this way: “He’s a young Ben Roethlisberger because of the size and the way he plays with.” [Dan] Marino’s arm. “
Allen had one of the worst games of his three-year career against Baltimore in December 2019 when the Bills lost 24-17 to the Ravens. He was caught at the 17-of-39 pass with the second lowest completion rate of his career (43.6%) and fired six times.
But Martindale raved about Allen’s improvement since the last matchup. Allen increased his accuracy dramatically this season, increasing from 58.8% in 2019 to 69.2% this season.
“When you’re evaluating a quarterback and he’s not accurate, you usually have a hard time losing that day,” Martindale said. “What he’s done in the off-season and what he’s done this year is amazing to see. It’s accuracy in motion. It’s accuracy out of pocket. Everything he’s done has become more accurate with it.”
The difficulty with all of them is that they can hit you with their legs and arm. Allen has rushed the Bills in both playoff games. The only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to lead their teams in a rush in three consecutive postseason games are Steve Young and Lamar Jackson.
A week after Martindale drove roaring champ Derrick Henry to a season low of 40 meters, he said it would take similar physical exertion to slow Allen down.
“For me to attack him … you better throw big bodies at him because he’s a big body,” Martindale said. “I told the defense earlier: ‘We have to attack him like you attack Henry because that’s how he works.’ He’s a tough challenge that we have. “