Josh Allen's legs leading Bills in rushing but not to wins

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Josh Allen, with abrasions on his torso and blood still glistening from beneath his left elbow, walked slowly across the Buffalo Bills' locker room after Sunday's 27-23 loss to the New York Jets.

Allen had just run for 101 yards, becoming the NFL's first quarterback of the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to rush for at least 100 yards in consecutive games. The rookie's 335 rushing yards over the past three games, including 99 in a Nov. 25 win over the Jaguars and 135 in a Dec. 2 loss to the Miami Dolphins, topped Michael Vick's 294 yards over a three-game stretch in 2006 as the most in the Super Bowl era.

Allen's 101 rushing yards Sunday raised his total to 490 for the season, surpassing LeSean McCoy's 479 yards for the team lead.

Battered Sunday from carrying the ball nine times and taking 10 quarterback hits, the No. 7 overall pick had little interest in basking in his accomplishments.

"I want to win football games," he said. "I could care less."

Winning football games will take a more complete performance from Allen and those around him. In order for the Bills' first-round pick to become their bona fide franchise quarterback he will have to stay healthy and corral his capable, but sometimes reckless, arm.

Despite Allen's unprecedented success as a runner, the Bills have lost each of their past two games to fall to 4-9. There was optimism oozing from Allen's outing in a 21-17 defeat to Miami, but he was outplayed as a passer Sunday by No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold.

Allen entered Sunday with a 52.9 percent completion rate this season, lower than the 56 percent mark at Wyoming that called his accuracy into question prior to the draft. He completed only 50 percent of his passes (18-of-36) against the Jets, threw two interceptions and finished with a bleak 44.4 passer rating.

Darnold ran for only 10 yards but completed 67 percent of his passes, led the Jets' game-winning touchdown drive and ended with a 83.7 rating.

Allen owned the NFL's sixth-best Total QBR in his previous two games after returning in Week 12 from an elbow injury, but the carelessness with the football that plagued him early this season returned Sunday. Allen lost a fumble while attempting to scramble in the first quarter and was picked off in the second quarter when he launched a pass off his back foot while being chased toward the sideline.

"Heaving up a blind pass to maybe pick up 10 yards, rather than throwing the ball away, I can't do that," Allen said.

Allen's second interception came late in the fourth quarter when, with a little more than a minute remaining and no timeouts, Allen tried to force a pass into tight coverage on wide receiver Zay Jones.

"I pressed it and forced a bad ball, instead of going through my progressions," he said.

Jones did not help Allen's cause earlier in the fourth quarter when, without contact from a defender, he dropped a pass from Allen on second-and-20 from the Jets' 48-yard line. Jones, a second-round pick in 2017, was the most experienced of Allen's top three receivers entering the game. Undrafted rookie Robert Foster and 2017 fifth-round pick Isaiah McKenzie also started Sunday.

Reinforcements for Allen will not come until the offseason, when the Bills have 10 draft selections and more than $80 million in salary-cap space. Addressing wide receiver will be near the top of general manager Brandon Beane's priorities, but questions should be raised about the futures of McCoy and tight end Charles Clay in Buffalo.

Both players have been mainstays in the offense since 2015 but will each count $9 million against the salary cap next season. Clay will turn 30 in February and McCoy will turn 31 in July.

McCoy has three games left to turn around what has been the worst season of his career, and his availability could be in doubt. After rushing twice for 1 yard Sunday, McCoy left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return. He declined to speak to reporters in the locker room afterward.

"We've got to protect the quarterback and run the football with somebody other than our quarterback," coach Sean McDermott said. "We've got to take a hard look at that. It's been an issue. I know that when the quarterback is your leading rusher, it's not a healthy thing, week in and week out."

The offensive line shares some blame for the inability of the Bills to establish a running game outside of Allen's scrambling, and for the hits Allen took as a passer. The rookie also pointed a finger at himself.

"I got to start limiting the hits I take on myself," he said.