Allen and Diggs on pace for record-breaking seasons

Despite three ugly offensive performances, some Bills players are on pace to have some of the best seasons the franchise has seen in quite some time.

Let’s start right at the top. The Bills are 6-2 through 8 games, 4-0 in the first quarter of the season and 2-2 in the second quarter. They are on pace to win 12 games, but with their very difficult remaining schedule, I don’t see that happening. A 10-6 finish from here would be respectable given their schedule. An 11-5 finish would be phenomenal.

Josh Allen

Stats through 8 games:
186/277 67% comp, 2,172 yards, 16 TD, 5 INT, 4 Rush TD

Projected season:
372/554 67% comp, 4,344 yards, 32 TD, 10 INT, 8 Rush TD

How It Compares:
If he is able to replicate his first half of the season, it would be one of the better seasons for a quarterback in franchise history. 554 pass attempts would be the most since Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2011. Breaking four thousand yards in a season would be the first time it happened since Drew Bledsoe did it in 2002. In fact, that was the only time it happened in Bills’ franchise history. As of now, Josh Allen is on pace to fall just 15 yards short of that all-time record for passing yards mark set by Bledsoe eighteen years ago. The most staggering stat to me is this one: 32 projected TD’s would be the most since Jim Kelly had 33 in 1991. That is also the team record. I couldn’t believe that Kelly never got to 40 with the talent on the 90’s teams and the success they had. Needless to say, Josh Allen has a chance to write his name at the top of the Bills record books in 2020 if he has just a slightly more productive second half of the season. The 8 rushing TD’s would fall just short of his own record of 9, set last year.

Devin Singletary

Stats through 8 games:
93 attempts, 385 yards, 1 Rush TD, 21 rec, 159 yards

Projected season:
186 attempts, 770 yards, 2 Rush TD, 42 rec, 318 yards

How It Compares:
Outside of the game yesterday, this has been a very uninspired season for the Bills’ rushing attack. Last year Singletary finished with 775 yards, so he is on pace to duplicate his production from a yardage standpoint. He also finished with 2 rushing TD’s last year, which is what he is on pace for once again. 42 projected receptions would be the most since LeSean McCoy caught 59 in 2017.

Stefon Diggs

Stats through 8 games:
54 rec, 695 yards, 3 TD

Projected season:
108 rec, 1,390 yards, 6 TD

Stephon Diggs also has a chance to write his name in the Bills’ history books this year, as he is on pace to break Eric Moulds’s franchise record of 100 receptions in a season, a record that was set in 2002. Diggs is also on pace to break Moulds’s record of 1,368 yards in a season, which was set in 1998. It is no coincidence that 2002 were big years for both Drew Bledsoe and Eric Moulds, the same way that 2020 is shaping up to be a big year for Josh Allen and Stephon Diggs. If a QB is going to set records, there usually is a wide receiver that helps him do so and sets some along the way, as well.

Cole Beasley

Stats through 8 games:
41 rec, 494 yards, 2 TD

Projected season:
82 rec, 988 yards, 4 TD


Beasley is someone who has had a quiet, but very productive season. Both 82 receptions and 988 yards would be a personal best for the 31 year old who shows no signs of slowing down. I wouldn’t have guessed the Bills would have had two 1,000 yard receivers, but it is a real possibility this year. The last time that happened for the Bills was 2002 featuring Eric Moulds and Peerless Price.

Thoughts

When I sat down to write this, I didn’t expect to find what I did. Despite the sluggish offensive performances of the last four games, many players still have a chance to have franchise-leading seasons, and that was a surprise to me. The Bills offense have not passed the eye-test recently and certainly hasn’t looked like a record-breaking team, so…I wanted to dig deeper.

After digging deeper, I found what we all could have expected: that it is the first quarter of the season that is really carrying these projections. For example, based on the first four games, Allen was on pace for 5,304 yards, 48 TD’s, 4 INT’s and 12 rushing TD’s. No wonder why he was in the MVP discussion! Nobody expected him to keep that pace up, as that would have been 173 yards short of Peyton Manning’s NFL record for passing yards in a season, set in 2013.

In these last four games, Allen has been on pace for 3,384 yards, 16 TD’s and 16 INT’s. That tells the story of two different quarters of football, and we all know from watching this team recently that is was. The first four games are carrying him and his stats, and there will be a regression towards the mean. Hopefully, Allen’s baseline is somewhere in the middle, right around where he is projected to be when the dust settles. Furthermore, in the first four games Diggs was on pace for 104 catches and 1,612 yards. In these most recent four, he was on pace for 73 catches and 1,168 yards. Again, a story of two very different quarters of the season.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the obvious differences and challenges that these final 8 games pose. One would be the opponents. The Bills have taken advantage of a soft first half of the season, but their second half will not be so easy. The Bills will have to maneuver Seattle, Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Francisco during these final two months. The second factor would be the weather. Personally, I don’t subscribe to this factor all that much considering I just mentioned that Peyton Manning set the record for best season by an NFL quarterback while playing in Denver. Plus, isn’t the cold weather, combined with Allen’s big hands, one of the reasons why they drafted him? I would be much more concerned with the upcoming opponents than the upcoming nasty weather. Speaking of – next Sunday’s forecast calls for 70 and sunny. 70 and sunny for a for a Bills home game in November. Wow. That weather, plus a suspect Seahawks defense and secondary, should allow the offense to get back on track, and back on pace, to rewrite the record books.

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