Bills' Allen seeks 'rest and recovery' as he gauges elbow injury

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen said that the right elbow injury he suffered in the team's Week 9 loss to the New York Jets resulted in him having to change his throwing motion and that it wasn't until two weeks ago that he was able to get back to mechanically what he likes.

Allen said that there are no plans for any offseason procedures or surgeries on the elbow and that "rest and recovery is gonna be really good for it." He downplayed the impact of the injury initially during a news conference Monday as the Bills cleaned out their lockers after a season-ending 27-10 divisional round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bills became the first preseason title favorite not to reach a conference championship game since the Seattle Seahawks in 2015.

"I mean, there was a period, obviously, right after for a few weeks, where it was pretty bothersome, but again, it didn't affect me all that much," Allen said. "Just kind of felt like maybe I was trying to throw it a little differently mechanically, had to change a few things and got away a little bit from how I'm used to throwing the ball. That's just kind of a byproduct of that. But again, it didn't affect me too much."

Allen suffered the injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow during the last drive in the 20-17 loss to the Jets when defensive lineman Bryce Huff got past backup right tackle David Quessenberry, in for injured starting tackle Spencer Brown, and hit Allen's throwing arm, which resulted in a strip sack recovered by Buffalo. He did not miss a single game because of the injury but was listed on the injury report with it through the end of the season.

Two of the Bills' three regular-season losses came before Allen's injury, including the one to the Jets. During Weeks 1-9, Allen completed 64.1% of his passes for 2,403 passing yards, throwing for 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His adjusted completion percentage was 70.6%.

Not including the Bills' two playoff games over the past two weeks, when Allen said he was able to return to what he likes, he completed 62.5% of his passes post-injury for 1,880 yards and 16 touchdowns with six interceptions. His adjusted completion percentage during that time was 71.8%.

"I think, really, two weeks ago is when I kind of felt like I got back to mechanically what I like," Allen said when asked later about the specific impact of adjusting his mechanics. "Again, being the rotational thrower, it's very kind of elbow prevalent, and maybe I got a little bit to more of a linear-type deal 'cause I just couldn't really use all that much force and kind of flicking it out there, but, again, just adapting."

Allen showed the difference with his arm, as he typically throws from a sort of side angle but was forced to keep his arm more vertical.

"I think more so when it first went down," coach Sean McDermott said on if the injury had an impact. "And then, as each week went by, he grew more and more comfortable, as he said. And I think his play got a little bit more, at times, in a rhythm and he was able to cut it loose a little bit more with less soreness after the fact. But overall, and that was part of my concern yesterday towards the end of the game was, we're never just going to turn in the keys and say that's it, especially in the game like that, but I wanted to make sure he didn't take any more hits down the stretch there at the end of the game."

The Bills' offense was plagued by a variety of issues at various points in the season, including leading the league in drops, mixed offensive line play and playcalling issues with first-time offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey.

Allen, who helped lead the Bills to the playoffs each of the past four years, finished the season with 23 turnovers -- including the postseason -- the most by any player over the past three years. He said he is going to take a deep dive into the turnover issue and understanding "defenses as well as I can and just trying to make the right play moving forward, and, again, allowing this offense to continue being out on the field."

Multiple players in the Bills' locker room Monday spoke about how -- after an emotional month, from a deadly blizzard in Buffalo to safety Damar Hamlin suffering cardiac arrest during the regular-season game vs. the Bengals -- there was exhaustion and how the team "stalled from an energy standpoint," as tight end Dawson Knox said, after an early 14-0 deficit to the Bengals on Sunday.

"The adversity that this team had to overcome," Allen said of what will stick with him from the 2022 season. "There's a lot of stuff that happened to a football team that I don't know if it's ever happened before. Just battling through that with the guys in this locker room and us trusting each other. Obviously, we want to win. Make no mistake about it. But I'm proud of how this team was able to fight through some of the stuff that we went through."

As for the quarterback specifically, when asked what he learned about himself this season, he paused, then said, "I got a lot more to learn. A lot more to grow from, and I got a long way to go."