Josh Allen guides Bills to gigantic upset of Vikings with legs, guts

MINNEAPOLIS -- Josh Allen's awe-inspiring arm strength was the most obvious trait that drew the Buffalo Bills to the polarizing prospect from Wyoming. The Minnesota Vikings found out on Sunday what else endeared Bills general manager Brandon Beane to the quarterback he made the No. 7 overall pick of April's draft.

Allen guided the Bills, who were 17-point underdogs, to the NFL's biggest upset since 1995 as much with his legs as his arms in a 27-6 win. Allen outran Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr to the pylon for a 10-yard touchdown, hurdled over Barr for a 10-yard gain on third-and-9 and later dove over the middle of the Minnesota defensive line for a 1-yard touchdown to help give Buffalo a 27-point halftime lead that was never threatened.

“I was trusting my feet, trusting my gut," Allen said of the hurdle. "There was a guy who was maybe three yards in front of the sticks. I knew we needed a first down there and we went on to score on that drive. It was a big play, but it was just another first down.”

Allen said Sean McDermott loved the effort, as did others on the sideline.

"You see that hurdle? That’s Josh, man. He’s dope," safety Micah Hyde said. "I jumped off the bench. I think I was on the field trying to dap him up. That was a huge play. Don’t do it again, though."

Overall, Allen ran 10 times for 39 yards in the absence of perhaps the team's best player, running back LeSean McCoy, who was inactive with a rib injury. In his first career road start, Allen demonstrated the athleticism and fearlessness of a ball carrier who allowed the Bills to forget about the quarterback mobility they lost in trading Tyrod Taylor. Allen's 10-yard rushing touchdown was the longest by a Bills quarterback since Taylor's 12-yard-run in Oakland in Week 13, 2016, and it was the first rushing touchdown allowed by the Vikings this season. Allen became the first Bills quarterback with two rushing touchdowns in a game since Trent Edwards in 2008, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

In the process, Allen became the latest young quarterback to breathe new life into a team after electrifying efforts by Cleveland's Baker Mayfield and Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes this season.

The performance likely sparked memories for Beane of a Wyoming win last November over Colorado State in which Allen led the Cowboys in both passing (138 yards) and rushing (60 yards). Beane made note of that game when explaining to reporters this summer his decision to trade up for Allen, while also praising Allen for his approach to the Senior Bowl, a game in January that top quarterback prospects sometimes skip.

"I know his agent was wanting him to play a series or two and get out because everyone is fearing injury," Beane recalled in June. "And he was like, ‘No, I’m coming back in the second half.’ His agent was probably like, 'Why?' And he came back and led them on two different touchdown drives."

Allen completed 9 of 13 passes (69 percent) for 158 yards and two touchdowns in the Senior Bowl. Beane noticed Allen's footwork improved in that game from his college career, when he completed an alarming 56 percent of his passes, and credited the change in part to Allen's work with private quarterback coach Jordan Palmer.

The sharper version of Allen was on display Sunday, when he finished 15-of-22 (69 percent) for 196 yards and a 26-yard touchdown to second-year tight end Jason Croom.