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Armando Salguero: The Reasons Josh Allen And Tom Brady Are Headed Toward a Shootout

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Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills have been feverishly searching for answers as to why they’ve been trading wins and losses for nearly two months.

“There’s been times throughout our season where we’ve been able to move the ball,” Allen said Thursday, explaining his team’s situation. “But sometimes when it comes down to critical situations, we haven’t made the best decisions. We haven’t executed properly like we want to, like we know we can.

“So we’re cleaning things up. I’ve got no doubt whatsoever in our guys, our playmakers, our line, in myself. We’re excited to get back on the field, go out there and put our best foot forward.”

That’s great, but Allen should probably come to terms with the idea that neither he nor the Bills are going to solve the issues that have plagued them by this weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

That’s not a prediction on the upcoming game’s outcome.

No one is saying the Bills are definitely headed for a loss against the Buccaneers just because they haven’t overcome a paltry running attack, inconsistent run defense, and a playing style that simply isn’t what everyone expects from a Buffalo team in December.

The reason the Bills might as well forget those problems is that this game, this opponent and this venue will render all those issues moot.

This game, you see, is more likely to be about Allen dueling Tom Brady in a shootout than which team runs the football better and controls the clock longer and overcomes winter weather conditions.

Brady, 44 years old and a sage at understanding circumstances, probably figured this out already.

He knew the Bills, next on the schedule, were on television Monday night against his old team the New England Patriots. And that game in Buffalo’s so-familiar blustery conditions had every right to hold Brady’s attention.

But it didn’t.

“I was getting ready for bed. I was tucking in,” Brady said Thursday. “I had plenty of those nights and I woke up and it was 75 degrees the next day here, so that’s pretty amazing how you feel. This is a great time of year to be here, for sure.”

So this just in: The Bills and the Bucs are going to play in weather expected to be in the 70s.

The wind gusts that riddled Allen’s passes and caused the Patriots to attempt only three throws aren’t going to be a thing in Tampa. The concern the Bills aren’t built for December football in challenging climes also won’t matter.

Raymond James Stadium, you see, is home to a passing team, and the Bills should simply embrace the idea that they’re also a passing team.

There’s statistical logic behind that. Tampa Bay’s run defense is tied with Baltimore for best in the NFL, allowing only 84.3 rushing yards per game. “Nobody runs the ball on us,” coach Bruce Arians has said this season.

The Bucs, meanwhile, are 20th in the league against the pass, primarily because they’ve had injuries and other concerns throughout the season.

So it would be foolish for the Bills to lean on a game plan authored to attack what Tampa does best (stop the run) with what Buffalo does worst (run the ball).

It’s a crazy thought but maybe Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll might want to do what his unit does best (pass the football with Allen) against what Tampa’s defense has been inconsistent in defending.

“We’re a hungry team and we want to go out there and prove what type of team we are. Not to you guys or anybody else but to ourselves because we know what type of guys we have in this locker room and the team we can be,” Allen said.

Allen is Buffalo’s best player and he recognizes Brady is not only Tampa’s best player but one of the NFL’s all-time greats.

“He’s undeniably the greatest of all time,” Allen said. “…In terms of mechanics and how he plays the game, he’s been able to win from within the pocket his entire career. He’s been able to decipher defenses before the snap and he’s able to make quick adjustments right after the snap.

“He knows where his guys are, he knows his playbook better than anybody else in the building. I can go on and on about what makes him great.”

And people in Buffalo are worried about running the football to beat that guy?

It’s going to be a shootout, folks.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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