Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs prepared to air it out despite freezing temperatures in Patriots-Bills
Catching passes from Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen when he dials up maximum velocity is tough enough.
Doing it with numb fingers is even tougher, and that’s what Allen’s targets will be dealing with Saturday night against the New England Patriots; Buffalo weather for Saturday currently projects at a low of two degrees. Bills receiver Stefon Diggs, among the game’s most sure-handed receivers, acknowledged Tuesday that he’s been known to ask Allen to take something off his throws.
“I dropped a touchdown the other week (against) Atlanta. He was zipping that ball,” Diggs said, per newyorkupstate.com. “I was like, ‘Look, give me a little easy one.’ He just got a strong arm. He can’t help it.”
Diggs was dealing with freezing temperatures in that game, as well, but not nearly as cold as what’s expected on Saturday night when the Bills host a wild-card round playoff game against their AFC East rivals (8:15 p.m. ET, CBS). While catching Allen’s fastballs won’t be easy, Diggs has at least experienced worse in terms of weather. He harkened back to a January 2016 playoff game against the Seahawks when he was with the Minnesota Vikings — the third-coldest playoff game ever at minus-six degrees, with a wind chill of minus-25.
“It’s just going to be so cold, bro. My fingers get cold, toes get cold,” Diggs said. “As soon as you come off [the field the trainers are] like, ‘Do you need a coat?’ And you’re just like, ‘Nah, get away from me.’ But they’re always there for me, so I feel like I’ll be fine. … I’m not too much of a complainer, and I played in one of the coldest games in history, like when we played in the playoffs vs. Seattle at the Minnesota Gophers stadium. It was like negative something. So this ain’t nothing. I’ll be alright.”
Allen, for his part, isn’t changing anything about his game. The adjustment will have to be Diggs’.
“I think the second you start messing with mechanics and stuff, especially this late in the season, it only tends to make things worse,” Allen said. “You just gotta trust guys out there, you gotta trust yourself and what you’re seeing and what you’re throwing, and go based on that. It’s gonna be hard for both teams to catch the ball.”
Indeed, the weather will affect all, but the Patriots already have shown a willingness to radically alter a game plan for Buffalo weather. Earlier this season, New England won in Buffalo while throwing just three passes — albeit more because of wind than cold — but beat the Bills strictly with an effective running game just the same.
Don’t expect such a move from the home team.
The strong-armed Allen will let it rip. And Diggs, numb fingers and all, will battle the elements right along with the Patriots.
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