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What Josh Allen said about Dalton Kincaid’s first NFL TD and getting the rookie ‘more involved’

Kincaid enjoyed a breakout game and is expected to take on a bigger role with fellow tight end Dawson Knox on injured reserve

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Buffalo Bills tight end Dalton Kincaid (86) gestures after scoring in an NFL football game on Oct. 26, 2023, in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Buffalo Bills tight end Dalton Kincaid (86) gestures after scoring in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Ryan Neal, right, in the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Adrian Kraus, Associated Press

The Buffalo Bills will rely on rookie Dalton Kincaid even more after fellow tight end Dawson Knox went on injured reserve earlier this week after he had wrist surgery.

On Thursday night when the Bills faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kincaid delivered a standout performance highlighted by a career first: his first NFL touchdown.

With Buffalo facing a third-and-12 late in the second quarter of an eventual 24-16 Bills win, the former University of Utah star caught a pass from Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen at the Tampa Bay 10 and ran untouched for the score.

Allen made sure to secure the football as a memento for his rookie teammate after Kincaid jumped in the crowd to celebrate.

“You never know what they’re going to do on their first touchdown, so I stole it from him and made sure I got it to our equipment manager (Austin Skobel) and ‘Scoby’s’ going to put it in a nice spot, laminate and put something pretty on it for his first touchdown. He’ll be able to keep that one,” Allen told reporters.

Kincaid, the 25th overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, ended the night with five catches for 65 yards. Over the past two weeks, he has 13 receptions for 140 yards.

The other big highlight from Kincaid came on a third-and-4 play in the third quarter, when the tight end made a move on defender Lavonte David, then extended to bring in a high pass from Allen near the sideline, while making sure to get both feet inbounds to complete the 15-yard catch.

“For a rookie to have the field awareness and the presence to catch the ball first, control his body, get his feet down, let his feet go dead on the sideline, that was fun to watch,” Bills coach Sean McDermott told reporters.

Kincaid ended up playing 84% of the Bills’ offensive snaps in the win. With Knox sidelined, he’ll be the team’s primary option at tight end for at least the next three weeks.

“He’s done a good job. When you watch the rapport of a good tight end and a quarterback, it only grows over the years. The more they play together, the better it should get,” McDermott said of Kincaid.

Allen said his young teammate has captured the trust of his teammates thanks to his approach to the game. 

“He feels like, and a lot of guys will say this, he feels like he’s been in this league for a long time. He’s a professional, he takes it very serious and it’s a business to him. His approach has been fantastic. The trust I have in him is going to continue to grow,” Allen said. 

“…. I thought he stepped up to the challenge and we’re going to have to get him more involved in the offense as the season goes by.”

Outside of missing one game because of a concussion, Kincaid has 30 receptions for 258 yards and one touchdown in seven games this season.

He’s been targeted five times in four of those seven games.

“His steady personality isn’t just lukewarm, he’s hungry to be the best that he can be,” McDermott said. “I think that serves him well at the position that he plays and how important it is that he be steady for the quarterback.”

Over the next three weeks, the Bills will play at the Cincinnati Bengals, followed by home games against the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets.

“The dude has a special skillset,” Allen told the “NFL on Prime” broadcast crew after the game, speaking about his tight end. “I think a lot of people saw that tonight — his run after catch potential, the toe-tap on the sideline was pretty special. We’ve got to keep continuing to get him going because he can do a lot of stuff for us.”