The Buffalo Bills dominated play early in Thursday night's season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, but three turnovers kept the score tied 10-10 going into the second half.
Facing a third-and-7 on their opening drive of the game and teetering on the edge of field goal range, Josh Allen scrambled toward the sideline and, as he approached the first-down stick, stiff-armed the snot out of Rams safety Nick Scott to get the first down.
The play lit the fire.
"Just trying to make a play for the team, just doing what I can do to try to get first down," Allen said of the stiff-arm. "That's it. You know, guys appreciate that. I play hard. I want to win games no matter how I can do it. That's just, I guess, an example of what I'm willing to do to win a game and just try to get a first down and allow us to keep moving the ball. It's just all in the heat of the moment and I think guys appreciate that."
Four snaps later, Allen found Isaiah McKenzie for a 7-yard TD, and the second-half rout was on.
The Bills offense moved the ball at will in the second half, generating three consecutive TD drives. With a smothering defense, Buffalo buried the Super Bowl champs, 31-10, in their own stadium on opening night.
Allen cemented his preseason status as the MVP favorite with a do-it-all performance.
It started with a precision passing attack. With the Rams playing back to negate the explosive plays, Allen diced up the defense underneath with quick processing. On the night, he completed 26 of 31 passes for 297 yards, three TDs and two INTs.
After seemingly lulling the Rams to sleep with short darts, Allen unleashed his deep shots in the second half. He hit Gabe Davis for a 47-yarder as he stood in versus the blitz. Later he uncorked a 53-yard TD to Stefon Diggs to put an exclamation point on the win.
Allen also led the Bills in rushing, generating 56 yards on 10 carries with a TD. The QB earned his seventh career game with 3-plus pass TDs and 1-plus rush TD (since 2018), the most such games by a player in his first five seasons since 1950 -- only Drew Brees and Tom Brady have more such games in a career.
"I like winning. Whatever I'm asked to do, I'm willing to do," Allen said of his running. "And again, limiting the hits, obviously sliding getting out of bounds. The utmost importance there, the best ability is availability. But again, when I'm called upon to do something for my team, I'm willing to do it."