Taking a deep dive into Josh Allen's turnover "problem"

Josh Allen throws the occasional interception but the narrative that he throws 'too many' is quite overblown.
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Rookie minicamp, OTA’s, and voluntary workouts are all over. Training camp is on the horizon. There is a lot to be excited about, a lot to be excited for, a lot to be worried about, and more we can’t wait to see next. Position battles, rookie expectations, and what the team will look like from August through the season will give us much to talk about. However, I want to talk about a topic that will loom large over the offense once the first pass is thrown; turnovers, which is mentioned with Josh Allen according to Gilberto Manzano of Sports Illustrated.

Josh Allen, the face of the Buffalo Bills, franchise savior, the player that is supposed to deliver a championship to a city that is starving for one. Allen was vaulted to super stardom in the 2021 AFC Divisional round game against Kansas City that has been dubbed “the 13 second game”. In that game, Allen went 27-37 for 329 yards and 4 touchdowns. If it wasn’t for his head coach’s decision making at the end of that game (which is another discussion for another day) then we might be having a different conversation today.

I truly believe in my heart of hearts that the Bills would have beat the LA Rams in the Super Bowl that year. Instead, we sit here today talking about how Allen is just one of the most scrutinized players for his turnovers in recent memory. Allen’s name alone seems to strike a chord with national media members. Every time it is uttered the first thing out of someone's mouth is “ he turns the ball over”.  That may be true. Allen does throw interceptions on occasion but to be labeled like he’s a turnover machine is absolutely ridiculous.

He is a gunslinger and gunslingers throw picks, just Brett Favre. Allen does throw the bad interception from time to time no one is arguing that. But the national narrative that he throws way too many picks is a little much for my liking so this is my defense of Allen. Based on the 2022 and 2023 seasons, using some advanced stats Josh Allen is doing a lot for this Bills team.

Josh Allen Advanced Stats
(Per Pro Football Reference)



Passes Dropped



Poor Throws



Poor Throw %



On Target Throws



On Target %






Times Blitzed






Hits (While Passing)






Josh Allen had seven less drops from his intended receivers, threw 16 less “poor throws”, was sacked 9 less times all while being blitzed, hurried, hit, and pressured more. He is a national treasure. Not to mention his play action and RPO game. Per Pro Football Reference, in 2022, Allen was a play action master. 145 pass attempts for 1,235 yards. His RPO numbers in 2022, 62 pass attempts for 471 yards. in 2023, his play action stats were 91 pass attempts for 929 yards. With RPO, Allen had 69 pass attempts for 591 yards. I feel the emergence of James Cook in 2023 might have attributed to the drop in numbers but Josh Allen is doing what elite QB’s do; throw the ball and win games.

Allen as starter is 63-30. His 2018 rookie season is the only season he’s been under .500 (5-6). Hehas guided the Bills to 13 wins twice. Yet somehow it keeps coming back to “costly turnovers”. In Buffalo’s six losses this season by my estimation: Josh Allen had three INT’s vs the Jets in Week 1 with the third happening with nine minutes left in the 4th quarter. The Bills would eventually lose in overtime off of a punt return for a touchdown. Allen had one pick vs the Jaguars in Week 5, with his only pick coming early in the 4th quarter. Buffalo would lose on a Stefon Diggs fumble with 22 seconds left.

In Week 7 vs the Patriots, there was a first quarter interception and the Bills lost by giving up the go-ahead touchdown with 22 seconds left and a Josh Allen fumble with 5 seconds left. In Week 9 vs the Bengals, Allen had a 2nd quarter turnover and the Bills lost 24-18,. The following week vs the Broncos, Allen a first quarter interception and another late in the 2nd quarter, along with a 3rd quarter fumble. Buffalo lost on a do over field goal from having 12 men on the field. Then lastly vs the Eagles in Week 12, Allen had a 4th quarter pick with under 13 minutes to play. The Bills lost in overtime due to a Jalen Hurts rushing touchdown.

Please tell me in any of these losses where it was a “costly” interception that ended the game. A fumble I view differently in terms of trying to make something happen, but if you want to put fumbles in this example fine, the Patriots game is the only game where the game ended on a Josh Allen turnover. As much as we hate when interceptions are thrown, there is not a measurement for when interceptions are thrown just stat tracking how many.

Josh Allen Career Stats

Passing TD



Rushing TD




































Per Pro Football Reference, as we can see, double digit interceptions thrown since 2020. In 2018 Allen only played in 12 games, starting 11 which was his rookie season. If we go back to 2018 until the present, the interceptions leaders were: Ben Roethlisberger (16 in 2018), Jameis Winston (30 in 2019), Drew Lock & Carson Wentz (15 in 2020), Matt Stafford & Trevor Lawrence (17 in 2021), Dak Prescott & Davis Mills (15 in 2022), and Sam Howell (21 in 2023). In that time frame with Allen, here are the following ranks where Allen finished: tied for 5th, 10th, 5th, tied for 2nd, tied for 2nd, 2nd in interceptions in those years respectively.

Would you like to know why he’s been in the top two in interceptions for the last three seasons and thrown double digit picks since 2020? He’s attempted over 500 passes since 2020. Logic would tell you, if you throw the ball more, you’re likely to throw more interceptions. In 2021 he attempted 646 passes, in which the Bills' offense has looked the best in the Allen era. Allen has had over 4000 yards passing a season since 2020. In 2019 the offense was clunky at best, also, no Stefon Diggs (which had a lot to do with it), but the offensive weapons got better and the philosophy was more pass-centric.

Allen has a big arm. With great arm comes great responsibility. It also comes with arm arrogance. He thinks he can fit the ball in tight spaces…because he can. You win some, you lose some. For comparison’s sake, Tom Brady from 2018-2022 threw 52 interceptions in that span. Allen in that time frame threw 60 interceptions. Albeit only eight more but again, Brady wasn’t necessarily throwing it down the field as much. He threw smarter passes and a weaker arm compared to Josh Allen.

Notable QB's INT's Thrown in first 6 seasons

(Per Stat Muse)

Peyton Manning


Jameis Winston


Eli Manning


Jay Cutler


Joey Harrington


Matt Stafford


Aaron Brooks


Mark Sanchez


Andrew Luck


Ben Roethlisberger


Andy Dalton


Carson Palmer


Josh Allen


Joe Flacco


Cam Newton


Matt Ryan


Baker Mayfield


Now this list is a bit of a mixed bag but I think we can all agree, Peyton Manning threw a ton of interceptions to start his career, yet he’s considered one of the best if not the best passer in NFL history. However, I don’t hear anyone calling Peyton Manning a turnover machine. Or Eli Manning, Matt Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, or Andrew Luck. Four of the aforementioned five QB’s have bought themselves the benefit of the doubt with Super Bowls to their names. Luck was just held up to be the best QB prospect since John Elway but injuries cut his career short. You can find the full list here.

So why does Allen have to be dragged through the mud for his turnovers from August to January every season? I don’t know and I don’t think we’ll ever know. It doesn’t help Patrick Mahomes went to his 4th Super Bowl, and has been in an AFC Championship game every season for the last six seasons. Even in his own conference Josh Allen is being held to a high standard for not doing what Mahomes is. Sean McDermott isn’t Andy Reid and I wish he was. Maybe my heart wouldn’t hurt so much in mid-January for the last four years.

Ironically enough, for all the detractors about Allen’s interceptions, he gets a tremendous amount of credit for using his legs. Allen was tied for 2nd in rushing touchdowns in 2023 with Jalen Hurts who had 15 rushing scores. Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert had 18 himself which led the NFL. If anything, Allen was criticized for not using his legs enough. That also is a product of the head coach wanting it or not (again, another discussion for another day). Josh Allen is prolific with his legs.

Of the Top 10 rushing QB’s in NFL history, four are still active players. Russell Wilson (3rd), Lamar Jackson (4th), Josh Allen (8th), and Aaron Rodgers (10th). Two of them aren’t running around like they used to. Lamar Jackson is going to jump from fourth on the list to number one in probably two seasons passing Michael Vick’s 6,109 yards. A big difference between Jackson and Allen is that Jackson already has two MVP awards to his accomplishments. Allen finished 2nd in MVP voting in 2020 and 3rd in 2022. Allen cannot catch a break. This isn’t a debate on whether or not the MVP award is truly awarded to the player most valuable to his team.

When you add it all up, Allen is responsible for 102 turnovers. A lot when said, but he’s also responsible for 220 touchdowns. That’s a +118 differential. Allen scores more than he gives it away. That is never said, at least I never hear it. There are people out there who will try to convince you that Allen costs the Bills victories but it is simply not true.

There are Allen defenders like Dan Orlovsky and Mel Kiper Jr. They say Allen is doing everything he can and more because he has to. Former Bills' wideout Gabe Davis disappeared at times in his career that limited Allen. He had five games last season of zero catches. Since his 6 rec 105 yards TD performance in the loss to Philadelphia, Davis went way down in production to end last season. He had 4 reception game for 130 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers and a two reception, 21 yard disappointing game against New England. He is a boom or bust player.

He may have done the blocking in the run game but this offense needed more from its former number two receiver. Khalil Shakir is coming on and proving to be a nice slot receiver and Dalton Kincaid needs to time to really evolve. Stefon Diggs was the most reliable receiver on the team but he had his own curious season as well. Diggs hasn’t gone over 100 yards receiving since Week 6 vs the New York Giants. He had over 80 yards receving yards twice after Week 6. I like to think it is a combination of Allen target sharing more which obviously affects Diggs and not his age (30), but who’s to say. Now we’ll see what he looks like in Houston.

As far as on the field play, Allen is every bit the player we as fans want him to be. He’s every bit the player the Bills need him to be. He’s averaging a 2:1 ratio of touchdowns to turnovers. He’s a big part of the rushing offense, and he can distribute the ball under pressure and lead drives for points. I believe Sean McDermott out smarts himself in crucial moments and relies too much on his morals as a football coach.

We have had five seasons of peak Josh Allen with devasting losses in the playoffs to show for it. The narrative will eventually be written to lead you to believe Josh Allen will turn the ball over in a crucial moment to cost this team a game in the playoffs. When the real narrative should be, whether or not Allen can do everything and more to overcome the rest of the teams’ and the coaching staffs’ limitations. We have a large enough sample size to say, it isn’t the turnovers from the quarterback that cost the team wins, its everything else around him that does.