The first five years of Dwayne Allen’s NFL career were spent in the AFC South. But over that span, the then-Indianapolis Colts tight end did manage to familiarize with the division he resides in now.
Allen was active for 11 games against AFC East opponents from 2012 on through 2016. And the Colts ultimately went 4-7 in those encounters while the former third-round pick caught 31 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns.
As for how Allen’s production was distributed between them, now is a fitting time to find out.
After all, the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets will make up six games on his regular-season schedule with the New England Patriots in 2017.
- Nov. 25, 2012: Three catches, six targets, 36 yards
- Sept. 13, 2015: Three catches, six targets, 17 yards, one touchdown
Allen entered into two contests versus Buffalo during his stay in Indianapolis. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound tight end came out of them with a total of six receptions for 53 yards and one touchdown on a dozen targets, averaging under nine yards per catch. The Colts and Bills split things 1-1.
- Nov. 4, 2012: Six catches, seven targets, 75 yards
- Dec. 27, 2015: Zero catches, one target
The door opened and proceeded to close in Allen’s two matchups with Miami’s defense. All six of Allen’s receptions and all 75 of his yards – a career-high – against the Dolphins transpired during his rookie campaign. The Clemson product would later be the intended recipient of only one pass versus Miami in 2015. Even so, the Colts won that game as well.
- Oct. 14, 2012: Two catches, four targets, 33 yards
- Sept. 21, 2015: Zero catches, zero targets
- Dec. 5, 2016: Four catches, four targets, 72 yards, three touchdowns
The most prolific game of Allen’s tenure in Indianapolis took place during his final season there. And it took place against New York in December, when the 27-year-old turned every pass sent his direction into a completion and scored a trio of touchdowns before halftime. Altogether, Allen has caught six passes on eight targets for 105 yards and the aforementioned three scores versus the Jets. But the Colts went 1-2 over that stretch.
- Nov. 18, 2012: Six catches, 11 targets, 69 yards
- Nov. 16, 2014: Zero catches, zero targets
- Oct. 18, 2015: Three catches, three targets, 23 yards
- Jan. 18, 2015: Four catches, six targets, 30 yards
Then there’s the team Allen now finds himself a member of after being acquired in March for a swap of fourth- and six-round picks. Allen was on the field for four meetings with New England during his days with the Colts – including the 2014 AFC title bout – yet never on the winning side. In defeat, he accrued 13 catches and 122 yards on 20 targets. Held without a catch once, and held to 30 yards or less twice more, Allen’s most productive game versus the Patriots was his first. By his last, New England had nonetheless accounted for 41 percent of the catches and 34 percent of the yards he put up against AFC East competition.
But the division’s easel is clean entering 2017. Allen is more than intraconference acquaintance now.
He’s in Foxborough on a depth chart consisting of Rob Gronkowski, Matt Lengel, James O’Shaughnessy, Jacob Hollister and Sam Cotton – starting anew.
“I think every year is different, and you learn everything every year,” Allen said during mandatory minicamp in June, via Patriots.com. “Throughout the spring, throughout the fall training camp, whatever my role develops [into], I’ll fall in line and play to the best of my ability.”