EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Josh Allen's banged-up lower right arm didn't prevent him from pointing the blame at himself.
The Buffalo Bills quarterback was far from his usual dominant self, mostly shut down by an aggressive New York Jets defense in a 20-17 loss Sunday.
"It’s tough to win in this league when you’re playing a good team and your quarterback plays like (crap)," Allen said. “Made some bad decisions tonight. Really cost our team. A lot to learn from. A lot to grow from. That’s not the standard we hold ourselves to. That’s not the ball that we play.”
Allen was intercepted twice and sacked five times. He finished 18 of 34 for 205 yards and was held without a touchdown pass for the first time since Week 17 of last season against Atlanta.
“I feel like it’s the flow of the season,” wide receiver Stefon Diggs said. "Good things are going to happen, bad things are going to happen. We’ve seen Josh make a lot of plays. He made a lot of plays today. It’s nothing totally on him. Offensively, we work as a unit. Turnovers are going to happen. Our quarterback is the best quarterback in the league.
“To me, he can’t do no wrong. Of course, he’s going to be hard on himself.”
But now there's a bit of concern for Allen's health.
The Bills quarterback was seen flexing his right hand after he had the ball knocked out of it on a strip-sack by Bryce Huff on Buffalo's final possession.
Allen stayed in and bounced an incompletion to Diggs, then had his desperation heave for Gabe Davis knocked away by Sauce Gardner to seal the Jets' victory.
“There’s some slight pain,” Allen acknowledged. “I’ll get through it.”
Bills coach Sean McDermott said he hadn't yet spoken to the team's training staff about Allen's potential injury.
“I am aware of it,” McDermott said. “As far as I know, he’s still being evaluated.”
That aside, Allen was having a rough go against the Jets' defense long before that play. Allen ran for two scores — the 34th and 35th of his career — and 86 yards on nine carries, but couldn't muster much in the passing game.
“I wouldn’t say that he was out of it,” Diggs said. “Even today, he made a lot of plays. The quarterback position is always under a microscope.”
Especially now, with Allen's health uncertain — and the Bills dropping to 0-2 against AFC East opponents.
Considered by many the early season favorite to come out of the AFC for the Super Bowl, the Bills and Allen had a big dud just a week after Allen had two fourth-quarter interceptions in a 27-17 win over Green Bay.
“I trust Josh,” McDermott said. “I have ultimate trust in Josh. He’s a heck of a football player. It’s important to him. He knows that those are non-negotiable, those plays right there. They happen from time to time, percentages and the times you throw. It’s got to overall improve.”
Allen's first interception against the Jets came on the Bills' third play from scrimmage when Jordan Whitehead picked him off.
“The first one, I didn’t see the guy,” Allen said. “He was right behind the D-end.”
Gardner intercepted Allen in the third quarter, and it led to James Robinson's go-ahead 7-yard touchdown catch that gave New York a 17-14 lead.
“The second one was just a brain fart,” Allen said.
The Bills' defense could take a fair share of the blame, too.
The game was tied at 17 when Zach Wilson and the Jets got the ball with 7:53 left. But New York gouged a Bills unit that lost edge rusher Greg Rousseau and cornerback Kaiir Elam to ankle injuries, and was already without linebacker Matt Milano (oblique), safety Jordan Poyer (elbow) and cornerback Tre'Davious White (inactive while returning from an ACL injury).
The Jets ran eight straight running plays on their winning drive before finally throwing a pass, getting deep into Bills territory while draining the clock.
“That’s something we have to seriously look at,” McDermott said. “That’s where the game starts — up front and then run defense. You can’t allow a team to run the ball on you like that.”
The Bills dropped to 6-2 overall and their once-clear control of the AFC East has diminished. The Jets and Dolphins are just a half-game behind at 6-3, with the Patriots at 5-4. Buffalo plays New York again on Dec. 11, Miami on Dec. 18 and New England twice: on Dec. 1 and Jan. 8.
“We hate losing in the division,” Diggs said. "That’s huge. But our division isn’t the same division it used to be. We have some good teams. Moving forward, we get to play those guys again. They won today. They made some good adjustments. They played well. They made some plays.
“We've got to get back to being us.”