The Buffalo Bills received a lot of criticism during the past few after the announcement involving Tyrod Taylor. Surprisingly, the Bills’ coaching staff decided to bench their starting quarterback for Week 11’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, and instead went with Nathan Peterman, a rookie who would be making his first NFL career start.
Peterman was expected to struggle because everybody knew he wasn’t ready to start. And frankly, no one knew why the Bills benched Taylor in the first place. But if Buffalo wanted to experience how life would be without Taylor, they got their wish granted. Peterman threw FIVE INTERCEPTIONS during the first half. Yes, that’s not a typo. In his first career start, the rookie out of Pittsburgh University gave away the ball an incredible five times.
Here’s how he fared during the NFL debut. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t pretty.
Okay, let’s be fair. The first interception wasn’t really his fault. But the second and third ones? That’s not a throw you make when playing in the NFL. Peterman practically gave that ball away. He finished the first quarter with three interceptions, but things would get even worst in the second one. He kicked off the second quarter with another awful throw, but the fifth one might have been the worst one. On that play, it was clear Peterman just didn’t want to be on the field anymore. He looked out of confidence and it seemed he had no idea what he was doing.
However, it would be unfair to blame it all on his shoulders. He deserves a fair share of criticism for throwing five interceptions in 30 minutes of football, but come on. Everybody knew he wasn’t ready to start. So most of the blame should go to the coaching staff for making such a rash decision. Why would you start a rookie quarterback on the road against a stingy defense like the Chargers’ one? It doesn’t have any sense.
Taylor came into the game in the second half and looked as good as you would have expected. He completed 15 of 25 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown while adding 38 rushing yards and a score on four carries. In contrast, Peterman finished with six completed passes on 14 attempts for 66 yards and five interceptions. That’s a sizable difference.
To put things into perspective, here’s one final stat. Prior to this game against the Chargers, Taylor had thrown three interceptions all season long. Peterman matched that tally in just one quarter alone.
It’s really hard to understand why the Bills made this change, and all signs indicate that Taylor should return to the starting for Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs this next weekend. But the fact that Buffalo decided to make the change midway into the season and with the team fighting for a playoff berth speaks volumes of how little the franchise trusts Taylor. They already pulled the plug on him and paid the consequences for it.
It’s not too late to make things right. But actions speak louder than words. And there’s no question the Bills do not trust Taylor. Their decision of starting Peterman did nothing but confirm it.