The Bills quarterback began Saturday's wild-card game with a 41-yard scamper and capped that opening drive with a touchdown reception. Yes, the quarterback caught the game's first touchdown.
After the Bills gradually gave up their early lead to the Texans by the latter portion of the fourth quarter, Allen got back to work with unrealistic, if not crazy ambition. The athletic quarterback scrambled down the right sideline in the final minute of regulation, sprinting to a first down before attempting to lateral the ball to nearby teammate Dawson Knox. The tight end understandably did not expect Allen to attempt such a reckless play, watching the live ball bounce on the ground before he desperately batted it out of bounds.
It was the latest bullet dodged by Allen in a game full of them.
"Just tried to do too much," Bills coach Sean McDermott said of Allen's play, "trying to do too much and getting a little bit maybe extreme with what he felt like we needed at the time, the one lateral on their sideline and whatever it was there. Overall we just didn't make enough plays."
A possession earlier, the Bills were on the edge of field goal range when two Allen decisions made their climb to a game-tying field goal or game-winning touchdown much steeper. On third down, Allen got rid of the ball under duress, throwing it to no one and drawing an intentional grounding penalty. The next play, he took a massive sack in Buffalo territory to put the Texans in position to potentially ice the game.
"I was trying to make a play for the team. Whatever it took," Allen said of some of the chances he took. "There were some plays I wish I had back and some plays I wouldn't take back."
Allen added: "Every loss is personal and if I can go out there and execute differently, hindsight's 20-20, but there were some things that we should have hit on I put that on my shoulders, especially with how well our defense played today. Teams go how their quarterbacks usually go and I got to be better for this team."
Allen was far from the only person involved to make a questionable decision. Texans coach Bill O'Brien challenged a pass interference call on Houston's opening possession of the game, and unsuccessfully opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 instead of kicking a field goal to push the Texans' late lead to six.
But it is Allen's Bills who are headed home for the year after their second wild-card loss in three years. Allen's final line -- 24-of-46 passing for 264 yards -- signals an error-free performance. Buffalo wouldn't have been here without Allen, no doubt, but the other near-mistakes (a pass through the arms of J.J. Watt, the two would-be interceptions dropped by Bradley Roby, and a near-fumble caused by Roby) gave everyone watching a feeling that the next close call would be the one to do the Bills in.
That never happened, but the Bills are still headed home with their playoff win drought intact. One thing is for sure: The wide-eyed Allen definitely has high-pressure playoff experience under his belt now.