Josh Allen is a rare breed. He prances around with his dazzling legs, a piss missile of an arm, and the personality of Mother Teresa. As easy as it is to observe these gifts, one of his most vital attributes lurks inconspicuously. Josh Allen has Injury Resilience, and it is a part of his skill set.
Josh wasn’t born a superhero though. In his first D-1 collegiate game, Josh shattered his right clavicle into seven different pieces. This required an operation which included a plate and eight screws. Josh himself referred to it as a ‘doozy of a surgery’. Since that moment, Josh has remained virtually unscathed amidst numerous incidents which challenged his football immortality.
Allen has stayed healthy in Buffalo because of his body and his brain. Standing at 6’5 and 240+ pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal, he’s been more of a giver than a taker. It’s not all brawn with Josh though. Deep in that Posterior Parietal Cortex of his brain, Josh harnesses elite spatial awareness and decision making. The neural magic he displays when avoiding knee injuries has been breathtaking over the years. Every season he has had frightening close calls, but Josh has been resilient, and that warrants documenting.
The third preseason game of Josh Allen’s rookie year was his time to shine. He was allotted the start and we were to see how he could play with the starters. All the hype came crashing down with a disappointing performance. However, what most people don’t remember is how his day ended. Josh bounced his head off the turf that day, and he never returned. No reports of a concussion surfaced. The first example of resilience.
In Week 6, Josh took a vicious shot to the elbow by Whitney Mercilus. The velocity of impact he sustained should have blown his Tommy John ligament into smithereens. Josh might bend, but he will not break. The collagen fibers that make up his elite connective tissue is unworldly.
In Week 4, Jonathan Jones of the New England Patriots took his best shot. He put the crown of his helmet through Allen’s earhole. Josh was briefly knocked out and left the game. However, no Mark Kelso helmet needed, allowing Josh and his impeccable brains to return the next week.
The season ended against Houston in the playoffs. The game was a classic, which overshadowed two glorious avoidances of injury for the budding superstar. Josh almost lost an ACL that day on his TD catch. Luckily, his spatial awareness was in full effect, allowing him to lift his feet off the ground just in time at the goal line.
Late in the game, a key missed block led to Josh Allen taking a monstrosity of a head shot. Zach Cunningham’s shot to his head rivaled the hit that knocked him out of the Patriots’ game in Week 4. Clearly Allen’s brain became stronger, more resilient.
Josh’s third season was his breakout year. His rise to superstardom was quickly tested in Week 2. Josh used his cerebral fortitude when he jumped instead of stepping and planting, with Quinton Sprain barreling into his knees. If it wasn’t for this little hop, which is remarkable because he threw a game-swinging 47-yard pass to Diggs with no feet on the ground, Josh could have easily torn his ACL. This would have been like the mechanism Tom Brady endured when he tore his ACL in 2008.
Two weeks later, another major injury scare struck again in Week 4. Josh was trying to extend the play, as per usual, and took an awkward fall onto his left shoulder. This caused him to head to the locker room early, but he never missed a play. I quickly diagnosed this as an AC joint sprain. Most athletes could have torn a labrum or broken a clavicle, but no, Josh has immaculate parts.
Flash forward to Week 12 of 2020. Joey Bosa rolled Josh up into a pretzel. A double whammy of an injury, Josh sustained a medial ankle sprain and an MCL knee sprain to his right leg. Josh did miss a play here but quickly returned. Everyone might remember when he got the unsportsmanlike penalty for spinning the ball after a fantastic rushing TD? I would too, after his season flashed before his eyes.
Thanksgiving game, Week 12. The Tre White injury happened earlier in the game. Josh’s awareness saved his legs here. As you can see, at the last second, Josh is able to lift his right leg off the ground, saving his knee from bending backwards like Willis McGahee. This is the same awareness he displayed when he saved his legs on his TD reception in the playoff game against Houston in Year 2.
The last of this series transpired Week 14 against the Buccaneers. What could have happened was a Lisfranc dislocation/fracture. This would be like Cam Newton’s foot injury in 2019. However, Allen only had a mild midfoot sprain.
Again, we have resilience at its finest.
Looking into 2022 and beyond, it is naive to feel Josh Allen can keep up this pace of resilience. Last season, Allen averaged his most rushing attempts per game (7.2) since his rookie season (8.1). To note, he averaged 6.6 attempts per game in 2019-2020. Josh does thrive off his running abilities though, as he has averaged 7.75 rushing TD/season for his career. It is an elite part of his repertoire that will need a smart balance in the new, Ken Dorsey-led offense. No fret though Bills fans, as will continue to ride him as long as he stays young and thicc.
Featured Image: Ben Green/BuffaloBills.com