ORCHARD PARK (AP) — Josh Allen will never forget the emotional support Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll provided the quarterback following the loss of his grandmother 13 months ago.
Allen was driven to do the same for Daboll on Sunday. Following a 43-21 rout of the Washington Football Team, he revealed Buffalo’s assistant coach was dealing with the death of his grandmother.
“When you see a guy hurting, guys rally around that and they want to try to help ease that pain and that tension,” Allen said.
“It’s never an easy situation. I’ve been in that situation,” he said of learning of his grandmother Patricia Allen’s death shortly before a 44-34 win over Seattle in November.
“There’s nothing you can say to help him or his family feel better. And I think throughout and over time it feels better. But to have that type of support here and to share that pain with it takes a lot off of it.”
Allen is well aware of what Ruth Kirsten, who died Wednesday, meant to Daboll. Though born in nearby Welland, Ontario, Daboll was raised by his grandparents while growing up in suburban Buffalo.
In paying tribute to Daboll, Allen also quieted his early season critics and own self-doubts by throwing four touchdown passes and scoring another rushing.
Entering the game with a 56% completion rate, he finished 32 of 43 for 358 yards, while also surpassing the 100-touchdown plateau (including TDs rushing and one receiving) in his 47th start.
It marked Allen’s fifth career game with four TDs passing and 300 yards passing, one more than the team record held by Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. And Allen’s 2-yard TD run in the fourth quarter was his 26th, breaking the franchise record for quarterbacks held by Jack Kemp.
Allen’s 101 touchdowns rank fourth among Bills quarterbacks, and one behind Kemp.
Emmanuel Sanders scored twice, starting with a 28-yard catch to cap Buffalo’s first drive. Zack Moss and tight end Dawson Knox also scored for the Bills (2-1) on catches of 7 and 14 yards.
“We definitely found our rhythm today,” said receiver Cole Beasley, who finished with a team-leading 11 catches and 98 yards. “The first two games we were struggling a little bit. Even the last game winning 35-0, it was hard to feel good about it. Our drives would stall a few times, but today felt a lot more like what we expect and want it to be.”
If Washington coach Ron Rivera referred to the game against Buffalo as a measuring stick, Washington is well behind the chains in dropping to 1-2.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Rivera said. “We got our butts kicked. That’s the truth. And we’ll find out what we’re made out of. And how we respond will dictate what kind of team we’re going to be down the stretch.”
Taylor Heinicke, filling in for injured starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, struggled in his first career road start by going 14 of 24 for 212 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Washington’s defense continued springing leaks a year after finishing No. 2 in the league.
Washington had already allowed a combined 815 yards in two games, and gave up 481 yards and 29 first downs to Buffalo.
Trailing 21-0, the game would have been over early if not for Washington scoring twice over a span of 2:12 in the second quarter. The surge began with Antonio Gibson catching a short pass and winding his way through the Bills defense for a 73-yard touchdown. On the next play, Dustin Hopkins recovered his own kickoff to set up Heinicke’s 4-yard touchdown run.
The short kickoff bounced backward in front of returner Isaiah McKenzie, off the hands of Washington’s Khaleke Hudson and then off McKenzie’s helmet. The ball bounced back to Hopkins, who made a sliding catch at the Buffalo 24.
The Bills, however, closed the half with a pair of field goals from Tyler Bass, including a 48-yarder as time expired. They then blew the game open by going ahead 33-14 early in the third quarter, when Allen oversaw a 17-play, 93-yard drive capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass to Sanders.
Rivera was frustrated by how his defense opened the second half.
“It’s very disheartening because you make a stop, you feel like you have a little momentum,” he said. “And we didn’t do that, and that was disappointing.”
HITTING A WALL
Washington guard Brandon Scherff was injured when he couldn’t stop himself before slamming into a padded wall along the sideline late in the second quarter. Scherff was attempting to tackle Buffalo’s Taron Johnson, who intercepted Heinicke’s pass, which deflected off Thomas’ fingertips.
Scherff had the wind knocked out of him and returned for the third quarter.
The interception was negated by three penalties against Buffalo, including an illegal contact penalty against linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was flagged for a blindside hit on offensive lineman Sam Cosmi.
Washington: DT Matt Ioannidis did not play after a knee injury against the Giants.
Bills: DE Efe Obada and DT Harrison Phillips missed their second straight games.
Washington: At Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 3
Bills: Face second consecutive opponent coming off extended break after playing on Thursday night. They host the Houston Texans on Oct. 3.