Kyle Allen filled in admirably for the injured Cam Newton against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3, completing 19 of 26 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns.
The Carolina Panthers on Monday ruled Cam Newton out for a second-straight week as a result of a Lisfranc injury in his left foot. His backup, Kyle Allen, filled in tremendously against the Arizona Cardinals and will draw another start this weekend when the Panthers travel to take on the Houston Texans. Newton’s timetable for return is admittedly unknown, meaning that Allen will be the starter for at least the foreseeable future. Fortunately for Carolina, the 23-year-old has been nothing but successful in a limited amount of NFL action.
Across Allen’s first two NFL starts, he has the highest total QBR of any player in their first two starts since 2006. As a starter, Allen is undefeated and has passed for 489 yards and six touchdowns, while completing 35 of 53 passes with no interceptions. He also tacked on a rushing score in his first career start last December. He has been stellar in his first two starts, no matter how you want to look at it.
Next Gen Stats show that Allen was one of the best at throwing the ball down the field in Week 3, as well as being one of the most accurate.
One of the newest and perhaps most hi-tech advancements in player metrics is NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS). The metric uses sensors placed in players’ pads to accurately collect and analyze data that goes beyond traditional statistics. In Kyle Allen’s case, his traditional box score stats were excellent against the Cardinals, however, NGS gives an even deeper look into his success.
In the Panthers win over Arizona on Sunday, NGS found that Allen’s average completed pass traveled 8.3 yards through the air. By comparison, it was a better mark than those of MVP front-runners, Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott. Allen posted a similar average in his start last season as well.
What is interesting about this is that he routinely completed downfield passes. Of the five players with a better completion percentage than Allen in Week 3, none averaged more than 7.8 air yards per completion. Of the six quarterbacks with a higher average air yards per completion, none completed more than 64% of their passes. Allen completed over 73% of his attempts. This means that not only was Allen completing passes further downfield, but he was also extremely accurate.
According to the same data, he completed 11 of 14 passes that traveled ten yards or more in the air, including three that went for touchdowns. In two games, Newton managed to complete only 14 of 31 such passes, while failing to throw a touchdown. Allen added a fourth touchdown through the air on a short pass to Greg Olsen. It was the first time a Panthers quarterback had passed for four touchdowns since Newton did it in December of 2017.
As Newton continues to work towards his return, the Panthers can be confident in Allen’s ability to keep the team competitive.
Thanks to the impressive play by Allen, the Panthers should be in no rush to bring Cam Newton back. Carolina perhaps rushed him back into action too quickly earlier this season, and with the injury now appearing to be more serious, the medical staff needs to make sure Newton is 100% before he returns. Fortunately for the team, Allen has done more than enough to show that he is capable of winning football games.
The presence of Allen’s deep ball is something the Panthers’ offense hasn’t had in quite some time. Newton has never been very consistent throwing deep downfield, and he’s also struggled with accuracy for parts of his career. That’s not to say that this should be Kyle Allen’s team, however, it does suggest that Allen brings a different element to the offense. After all, the Philadelphia Eagles did ride a backup quarterback to a Super Bowl title two seasons ago.