EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — When Giants coach Pat Shurnur was asked how his team assessed Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen before the 2018 National Football League draft, he offered a somewhat terse reply.
“(We saw him as) a guy that had a chance to be a starter in the NFL,” he told the New York media earlier in the week.
To many, though he subsequently offered some kind words about the player the Bills took with the No. 7 overall choice, Shurmur was saying Buffalo had spent extra capital (two second-round picks) to move up in the first round and take a quarterback of uncertain starting skills.
In hindsight, after what happened Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, what Shurmur, who has never won more than five games in three full seasons as a head coach, should have said was, “If Josh can play against the Giants every week, he has a chance to be a Hall of Famer.”
LAST WEEK at MetLife, Allen struggled for the better part of three periods, then found his footing in rallying Buffalo from a 16-0 third-quarter deficit to a 17-16 victory over the Jets.
In the fourth quarter, when the Bills scored both of their TDs, he was 8-for-10 passing for 102 yards, rushing three yards for one score and throwing 38 yards to wide receiver John Brown for the winning points.
Sunday, against the Giants, he started faster, hitting 15-of-20 throws for 210 yards with a 14-yard touchdown swing pass to Iasiah McKenzie and a 125.0 passer rating while also rushing for a 6-yard score as Buffalo led 21-7 at intermission.
In the second half, he wasn’t as effective, going 4-of-10 through the air for 43 yards and taking two of his three sacks to finish with a 101.1 passer rating.
But, by then, the Bills were in rushing mode and were running the clock and controlling the game.
AFTERWARD, he was asked, yet again, if Shurmur’s comments bothered him, and Allen remained on the high road.
When asked about Shurmur talking to him during warmups before the game, Allen allowed, “We were just catching up, I met with him a lot last year, pre-draft. We just talked a little bit had some fun there. I have a lot of respect for him and how he’s handled everything here.”
Did he take Shurmur’s comment in a negative way?
“No, not at all,” Allen said. “Everybody has their own opinion and I know he didn’t mean anything like that. I honestly don’t know (exactly what he said). All I want to do is focus on what the Bills are doing.”
OF COURSE, Shurmur has his own quarterback issues.
While running back Saquon Barkley, the player New York took five picks before the Bills tabbed Allen, has been a home run, the Giants’ situation at QB is a mess.
Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl winner, looks used up at age 38.
He’s still starting, but against Buffalo, he was 26-of-45 passing for 250 yards with a touchdown pass, two interceptions and a substandard 62.3 passer rating.
But there’s a feeling in the New York front office that this year’s first-round draft pick, Duke QB Daniel Jones, isn’t ready.
When asked about Eli’s performance against the Bills, Shurmur was pointed, “I think his play is indicative of how our team played. There were some really good plays in there and then there were some things we need to improve on.”
Naturally, he was also asked about Allen’s play, the quarterback many felt he demeaned.
“I thought he did a really good job,” the Giants’ second-year coach said. “There were a couple of times he broke contain and made some really nice throws. A couple of times we were in really tight coverage and I thought he did a nice job.
“They also had the structured quarterback run that he scored on … I thought he played well.”
Of course, Bills’ coach Sean McDermott, as is his habit, wanted no part of the controversy.
When asked if Shurmur’s comments were a motivator – even though they were posted on the Buffalo locker room’s video board, McDermott maintained, “No … look, our guys are focused on the process and I’m extremely proud of the way they handled (the perceived disrespect). We’re moving forward.”
And with a quarterback who’s proven he’s a starter.
(Chuck Pollock, a Times Herald senior sports columnist, can be reached at email@example.com)