Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

We’ve Seen Josh Allen’s Movie Before

Josh Allen

Karl Marx once said, “History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce”. Now, regardless of how you feel about the Father of Communism, it seems like he was on to something. Although it’s highly unlikely he expected his words to apply to a pair of 6’5′ quarterbacks 140 years after he passed away. But here we are, Josh Allen might just be the new Cam Newton.

Quarterback To The Future: Josh Allen’s Movie

Newton Formula

Height is not the only exact similarity between the two signal callers after five years in the NFL. In their respective fifth seasons, they both threw 35 touchdowns and were sacked 33 times during the regular season. During the subsequent playoff runs, they both threw three touchdowns and were sacked eight times. That was despite Newton playing three playoff games in his fifth season to Allen’s two.  

Both Allen and Newton played a total of 84 regular season and playoff games in their first five seasons. They put up plenty of other statistics that were similar without being exactly the same, too. 

Deja Vu All Over Again

Allen ended the regular season with an average of 7.6 yards per pass attempt, Newton’s was 7.8 yards. Allen’s quarterback rating was 96.6 in his fifth season, Newton’s 99.4. Allen’s Bills won 13 games as he started 16 times. Newton’s Panthers team ended his fifth season 15-1. Allen’s longest run of that season was 44 yards as he carried the ball 124 times. Newton attempted 132 runs and his longest went for 47 yards. 

Here’s the worrying part for Bills fans: in the following season, Newton started just 14 games and won only six. 

Obviously, comparing just one season is completely unscientific and proves nothing. It’s entirely possible the similarities between those statistical categories are completely coincidental. But, over the course of their first five seasons in the league, a lot of the statistics are noticeably similar too. 

READ MORE: Will Josh Allen be a Super Bowl Quarterback?

Allen Keys

Allen has attempted 2,566 passes (33.3 per game) and thrown for 18,397 yards (238.9 per game) during his fledgling career. Newton attempted 2,418 passes (31.0 per game) and recorded 18,263 yards (234.1 yards per game) over the same period. Allen is a slightly more accurate passer, with a completion rate of 62.5% compared to Newton’s 59.6%. Allen has thrown fewer interceptions, too, with 64 compared to Newton’s 71. 

Over the course of his career so far, Allen has run for 3,504 yards on 609 attempts. He’s scored 40 rushing touchdowns. In his first five seasons Newton 3,428 yards from his 654 runs. He found the endzone 45 times in five seasons.  

Allen has the more impressive win rate after five seasons, 66% to Newton’s 57%. And, Newton’s body took more punishment than Allen’s early in his career. Allen has only been sacked 172 times (2.05 times per game). Whilst Newton hit the ground 201 times (2.39 times per game) over the same period. 

Doc, You’re My Only Hope

So, Allen has thrown more passes and struggled with an elbow issue last season but Newton ran more and ultimately a Lisfranc injury altered his career. Lisfranc surgery is notoriously difficult to recover from because it involves tightening ligaments. This procedure sacrifices agility for stability, affecting an athlete’s ability to avoid contact. Allen avoided surgery on his elbow, though, and Newton was heavier, too (although only by eight pounds), so every run was putting slightly more stress on his body. 

Now, the crucial difference between Newton and Josh Allen is that Allen hasn’t driven his truck off an overpass (which caused two transverse fractures to his lower back). And, while injuries are generally a result of random occurrences, there’s no doubt that on-field production can lead to a drop-off in production. A data analysis study based on running backs has been conducted at Bryn Mawr University, but since Newton and Allen are amongst the first of the new breed of quarterbacks, there’s little quarterback-driven data to extrapolate. Data from running backs suggests production begins to decline after just three seasons. But the biggest drop-off comes after their 28th birthday. The largest decline in production comes after a back has 2,500 touches. 

Great Scott

Newton’s career stuttered after he had 3,072 involvements. He went 6-8 in his sixth season and, while he ended his seventh season 11-5, the 2017 season ended in the first round of the playoffs. Allen is now at the 3,175 mark. So, it appears the Bills window to win with him under center is closing quicker than you’d think. 



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