Jan 24, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor (57) during the fourth quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Report: QB Josh Allen fined $15K for flipping ball at opponent

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was fined $15,000 by the NFL for flipping the ball at Kansas City defensive end Alex Okafor after Okafor sacked him during the Chiefs’ 38-24 win in the AFC title game last week, NFL Network reported Saturday.

After being hit by the ball, Okafor stood over Allen while yelling at him. Bills guard Jon Feliciano took offense and shoved Okafor. Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins also went after Okafor, as all four players earned unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the play.

Feliciano and Dawkins were each fined $10,000 for their actions, while Okafor wasn’t penalized monetarily, according to the report.

“The way it ended doesn’t sit right with me with how chippy and ticky tack it got. I’m disappointed in myself,” Allen said, via Matt Parrino of Syracuse.com. “I let my emotions get to me there. That’s not how you’re supposed to play football.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

QB Alex Smith named PFWA Comeback Player of the Year

Quarterback Alex Smith was named 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year by the Professional Football Writers of America, recognizing his return to play from a devastating leg injury.

Smith led the Washington Football Team into the playoffs more than two years after the injury he sustained in Week 11 of the 2018 season. He required 17 surgeries to save his leg, repair the injury and fight a life-threatening infection.

The organization also named Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen the Most Improved Player of the Year after he raised his completion percentage by more than 10 points and threw for 1,455 yards and 17 touchdowns more than he did in 2019 to lead the Bills into Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

Now 36, Smith started the season as Washington’s third-string quarterback. The team turned to Kyle Allen after Dwayne Haskins was ineffective, and Smith took over after Allen suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9.

Smith played in eight regular-season games, starting six, and completed 168 of 252 passes (66.7 percent) for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns. He was unable to play in Washington’s wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a calf injury.

Allen, 24, led the Bills to the AFC East title with a 13-3 record. He completed 69.2 percent of his passes on the regular season, up from 58.8 percent in 2019, and connected on 37 touchdown passes.

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) picks up a first down in the fourth quarter during the Tennessee Titans game against the Baltimore Ravens. Mandatory Credit: George Walker/The Tennessean via USA TODAY Sports

Weather could play role in Ravens-Bills showdown

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson heard mention of snow in the forecast for Saturday in Buffalo and he immediately became fearful of a playing surface that may cause tough sledding for his speedy feet.

Jackson might have to cope with such conditions when the fifth-seeded Ravens battle the second-seeded Buffalo Bills in an AFC divisional matchup on Saturday night in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Early forecasts call for a 40 percent chance of snow and up to an inch of accumulation.

“That definitely would be my first time playing football in the snow — Saturday, if it does (snow),” said Jackson, a native of Pompano Beach, Fla.. “Hopefully, it doesn’t.”

Jackson is more interested in using his wheels on non-slippery terrain when he attempts to lead the Ravens past Josh Allen and the Bills.

Buffalo edged the Indianapolis Colts 27-24 last weekend in the wild-card round while the Ravens ousted the Tennessee Titans 20-13.

The playoff victory was the first for the Bills since Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas engineered a 37-22 win over the Miami Dolphins in a wild-card matchup on Dec. 30, 1995.

Allen made it clear that the Bills didn’t arrive just to win one game and head into the offseason satisfied.

“It doesn’t matter what we did — it’s back to 0-0,” Allen said. “They’re 0-0 and they’re coming into our house. We got another home game, and we have to prepare and get ready to go.”

The overwhelming belief is that this encounter will be decided by the quarterbacks.

Allen, in his third season, had the breakthrough campaign many anticipated, setting franchise records with 4,544 yards and 37 touchdown passes. He added 421 yards and eight scores on the ground.

He was on his game against the Colts, completing 26 of 35 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns. Allen also ran for 54 yards and one score on 11 carries.

Jackson, also part of the 2018 draft class, was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2019. This season, he passed for 2,757 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushed for 1,005 yards and seven scores. He is the first quarterback in NFL history to top 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons.

Jackson connected on 17 of 24 passes for 179 yards and one interception against the Titans. He did his real damage with his legs, rushing for 136 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries.

The touchdown came on a 48-yard scamper after Jackson dropped back to pass.

“Those are the type of plays that keep defensive coordinators up at night,” Bills defense coordinator Leslie Frazier said, “when you see that, when guys are in position and they aren’t able to make that play because that player is so special on the other side.

“Lamar has done that in his short NFL career to the point where he’s been an MVP already. He’s capable of making you look bad at times. You just gotta be able to keep working and hopefully be able to corral him at some point.”

The Bills were able to lasso Jackson a few times in last season’s meeting at Buffalo. He managed just 40 yards on 11 rushes with a long of 16 yards, but Baltimore won the game 24-17 as Jackson threw for three touchdowns while accumulating 145 passing yards. Allen passed for 146 yards and a score.

While the Bills are slight favorites, the Ravens certainly don’t view themselves as underdogs. Last weekend, they shut down Tennessee 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry (40 yards on 18 carries) and they have a deeper recent history of playing in big games than Buffalo does.

“We’ve got a team full of tough players who are going to go to battle and who are going to scratch and claw for each other,” Baltimore cornerback Marcus Peters said. “It’s an organizational DNA built for January, which is exactly why the Ravens are the playoff team no one is excited to see.”

Peters (back) and linebacker Matthew Judon (illness) didn’t participate in Baltimore’s walkthrough on Tuesday. Among the Buffalo players who were limited in practice were receivers Stefon Diggs (oblique) and Cole Beasley (knee) and defensive tackle Ed Oliver (ankle).

The Bills also placed running back Zack Moss (ankle) on injured reserve, leaving Devin Singletary as the main ball carrier.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Trainers attend to Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen (41) during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jaguars DE Allen avoids serious knee injury

Jacksonville Jaguars pass rusher Josh Allen’s knee injury isn’t as serious as initially feared, NFL Network reported Monday.

The Pro Bowl defensive end will undergo further tests and likely be sidelined for some time, but the initial exams indicated no long-term injury, per the report.

Allen, 23, sustained the injury midway through the third quarter of Sunday’s 27-3 home loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was holding his left knee and had to be helped to the locker room.

Allen was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Kentucky. He tallied 10.5 sacks, 23 quarterback hits and 44 tackles in 16 games (four starts) and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

Through eight games (seven starts) this season, Allen has 13 tackles, 11 quarterback hits and 2.5 sacks.

The Jaguars (1-9) host the Cleveland Browns (7-3) this Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen (41) walks on the bench during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars DE Allen (knee) ruled out for Sunday

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen will miss Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans due to a knee injury.

The 2019 Pro Bowl selection was downgraded to out on Saturday and did not fly to Houston with the team.

Allen, 23, has played in all 20 games for the Jaguars since they drafted him with the No. 7 overall pick in 2019.

He left Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half, but returned to the game and played a season-high 58 snaps in Jacksonville’s 33-25 loss.

Allen has seven tackles, seven quarterback hits and two sacks through four starts this season. He had 44 tackles and 10.5 sacks as a rookie.

–Field Level Media

Sep 20, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) signals prior to the play against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Allen, Bills aim to continue torrid play vs. Rams

If it is too early to call the Los Angeles Rams’ visit to face the Buffalo Bills a marquee matchup, then at least it is an early-season showdown of teams maximizing their potential.

The teams from opposite coasts and conferences will meet Sunday sharing a common 2-0 record that has them atop their respective divisions.

The Bills reside atop the AFC East, already a game ahead of the new-look New England Patriots and two up on the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.

The Rams have company atop the NFC West, but it is a division that is not unfolding as planned. The San Francisco 49ers are 1-1 and in the thick of some serious injury issues. The Rams are instead tied for first place with both the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.

The Bills’ 58 points scored after Week 2 are third most in the AFC behind the Las Vegas Raiders (68) and the Baltimore Ravens (71).

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen leads the NFL with 729 passing yards, thanks to the fourth most completions (57). His six touchdown passes are tied for second most, while he has yet to throw an interception.

Allen was 24 of 35 for 415 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-28 victory over the Dolphins on Sunday. Allen earned AFC Player of the Week honors for his performance.

“(The receivers) are willing to do whatever it takes to win the game,” said Allen, who called his award this week more of a team honor.

“They understand that we’re going to throw the ball and they’re going to have their opportunities and they’re going to take advantage of their opportunities.”

Stefon Diggs’ transition to his first season at Buffalo, after five years with the Minnesota Vikings, has gone well with a team-best 16 receptions for 239 yards and a touchdown. John Brown has 10 catches for 152 yards and two TDs, while Cole Beasley has nine catches for 128 yards.

The Rams’ pass defense has been tested to the tune of 82 attempts by opposing QBs, tied for sixth most in the NFL. It seems less a sign of a perceived weakness and more the result of early leads against both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

The Rams have surrendered 486 passing yards, around the middle of the pack in the NFL, but just 6.2 yards per attempt (third best) and a 73.2 opponents’ passer rating (second best).

Linebacker Micah Kiser was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording a team-high 16 tackles with a forced fumble in a 37-19 victory over the Eagles on Sunday. His 17 solo tackles are the most in the NFL.

While Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff is showing Pro Bowl potential again after a down 2019, the Rams’ rushing attack has been instrumental to their hot start.

With Todd Gurley now at Atlanta, the Rams have the third most rushing yards in the NFL at 344. They also have the second most rushing attempts behind a trio of backs: Malcolm Brown (29 carries, 126 yards), rookie Cam Akers (17, 52) and Darrell Henderson Jr. (15, 87).

Henderson had 81 yards and a touchdown on Sunday after Akers left the game early with a rib injury.

“As a back, once you get your rhythm and your momentum, you feel like nobody (can) stop you,” Henderson said. “… My mindset for every game is you never know when (opportunities are) going to happen.”

Akers (ribs) and Brown (finger) did not practice Wednesday. Cornerback Darious Williams (Achilles) also was out. Left guard Joe Noteboom (calf) is expected to go on injured reserve.

The Bills had a full injury report Wednesday. Players who did not practice: Beasley (hip/thumb), cornerback Taron Johnson (groin), tight end Dawson Knox (concussion), rookie running back Zack Moss (toe), defensive tackle Ed Oliver (knee) and linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips (quad). Players limited: linebackers Tremaine Edmunds (shoulder) and Matt Milano (hamstring) and cornerback Tre’Davious White (shoulder).

–Field Level Media