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Buffalo fans have spent the last year treating superstar quarterback Josh Allen like the second-coming of Jim Kelly. However on Sunday, Pittsburgh plans to manage Allen like one of Kelly’s Hall of Fame teammates, running back Thurman Thomas. Should Allen morph from gunslinger to Thurmanator, the Steeler defense will be waiting with open arms.
Keith Butler on Bills QB Josh Allen, who he said reminds him of a young Big Ben with his size and physicality, as a runner:
"If you're going to run the ball, that ball attracts a lot of attention in the NFL. There's usually a price to pay. We'll see what happens in the game."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 9, 2021
At 6’5 and more than 230 pounds, Allen has been both a willing and capable runner throughout his career. In 2020 he rode his legs to eight rushing scores, often looking like the team’s best rusher.
“I hope he does try to finish his runs like a running back,” Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We’ll treat him like a running back. If he wants to be treated like a running back, we’ll do that, too.”
Butler stopped just short of warning Allen that relying on his legs could result in postgame X-rays: “That’s an important position. And if you are going to run the ball, that ball attracts a lot of attention in the National Football League. There is usually a price to pay. So we’ll see what happens in the game.”
Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward wasn’t as quick to dismiss Allen’s ground game, telling the Tribune-Review: “He’s a north-south runner. Once he gets going downhill, he’s going to bleed you and kill your defense.”
If Allen and the Bills were looking for some pregame motivation, they’ve found it. And it didn’t come by way of Heyward or any other Steeler defender. Make no mistake, the (Keith) Butler did it.