Comparisons grow between Josh Allen and Ben Roethlisberger following Bills’ Week 1 blowout over Rams

During last year’s season opener, Josh Allen’s Bills were on the wrong side of a 23-16 score against Ben Roethlisberger’s Pittsburgh Steelers. A year later, Allen and his teammates were victorious in their first game, as the Bills routed the defending champion Rams in front of a nationally televised audience.

Before he was a dominant NFL defender, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was a young Pittsburgh native who every Sunday watched the Steelers and Roethlisberger, who won two Super Bowls during Donald’s formative years. Prior to Thursday night’s matchup, Donald compared Allen to the Steelers’ former quarterback.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a tough guy, he’s athletic,” Donald said, via the Rams’ YouTube channel. “In my opinion, he’s like a futuristic Big Ben. A little bit more athletic, can move a little bit better. But he’s a guy that ain’t gonna go down easy so you got to come with your big boy pads when you get to wrap him up.”

Those comparisons continued during Buffalo’s 31-10 win over Donald’s Rams. During the broadcast, NBC play-by-play analyst Cris Collinsworth praised Allen’s Roethlisberger-esque pump fake. The comparisons continued on social media well into the night and into Friday, as fans and analysts alike continue to compare and contrast the two quarterbacks.

There’s no question that components of Allen’s game are similar to Roethlisberger. For starters, both quarterbacks are similar in size. Allen is 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds, while an in-his-prime Roethlisberger checked in at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. Like Roethlisberger did throughout his 18-year-career, Allen uses his size to scan over defenses while shedding off would-be tacklers.

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As far as game play, Allen has adapted a quality that Roethlisberger acquired late in his career: the ability to get rid of the ball at an incredibly fast rate. Allen constantly offset the Rams’ rush with quick passes to his receivers. Roethlisberger, partly by necessity while playing behind a struggling offensive line, did much of the same during his last two years in Pittsburgh. It allowed him to stay relatively healthy while helping the Steelers make consecutive playoff appearances.

Mobility is the main differences between the two quarterbacks. Unlike Allen, the Steelers rarely employed designed running plays for Roethlisberger, who mostly used his mobility to extend plays and, if the opportunity presented itself, to take off and pick up the necessary yards for either a first down or a touchdown. Running the ball is a much bigger component to Allen’s game. With Thursday night’s touchdown run, Allen has run for 2,381 yards and 32 touchdowns with a 5.5-yards-per-carry average. To compare, Roethlisberger ran for 1,373 yards and 20 scores while posting a 2.7-yards-per-carry average.

Allen is the more accomplished runner, but Roethlisberger continues to hold the mantle as the toughest quarterback to sack during this era. Roethlisberger, even when a defender was able to get his mitts on him, was often able to sling the ball out to a teammate to salvage a positive play.

Like Roethlisberger, Allen plays with the game with a fearless (some would call it a bit reckless) demeanor that often renders him open to taking big hits. Allen’s style of play, like it did with Roethlisberger, has surely endeared him to his teammates, particularly on the offensive line. Bills fans are just hoping that Allen can remain healthy for a possible Super Bowl run.

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Speaking of Super Bowls, that is the main difference between the two quarterbacks. Roethlisberger is one of four starting quarterbacks this century to win multiple Super Bowls. Allen is hoping to win his first this year while in the process helping the Bills capture their first Vince Lombardi Trophy. Allen, if he can continue to play at the level he played at on Thursday night, may also put himself into the running for league MVP, an award that eluded Roethlisberger during his decorated run with the Steelers.

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