After a tightly contested battle, the Buffalo Bills have chosen Nathan Peterman as their starting quarterback in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens.
It’s been an impressive turnaround for Peterman, who had one of the worst debuts in NFL history. Last season in his first start, Peterman threw five interceptions before halftime and was promptly benched for Tyrod Taylor.
But Peterman has improved a lot since that. So much so, even after the Bills traded up to No. 7 to draft Josh Allen, the decision to start Peterman is the one that makes the most sense.
Peterman had a really productive preseason for the Bills whenever he saw playing. His performance against the Carolina Panthers was particularly strong when he went 9 of 10 for 119 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Nathan Peterman to Kelvin Benjamin vs. Carolina 8/9/18 pic.twitter.com/PVQWRQrQtL— Bills TD A Day (@BillsTouchdown) August 24, 2018
Peterman finished the preseason with a 80.5 percent completion rate and passed for three touchdowns. He threw just one pick and took two sacks in three games. Though he didn’t throw down the field very much, he played efficient and mistake-free football.
Simply put, Peterman looks more ready to play right now than Allen, and that’s perfectly fine. Allen was seen as a project coming out of Wyoming, so it’s not too surprising that his play was a bit all over the place in his first NFL action.
Peterman also outplayed AJ McCarron, the 27-year-old former Bengals backup. McCarron injured his shoulder in the second preseason game, but he was able to come back in Week 4 to play all four quarters. He didn’t look very good in the first three, until he led an epic (for preseason) comeback in the fourth. He was then traded to the Raiders.
While Peterman did play well in the preseason, he’s going to have a few big challenges to start the season. The Bills start off their season against the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, and Minnesota Vikings — three teams with relentless pass rushes and lockdown secondaries. They also play the Jacksonville Jaguars at home in Week 11 and have two games against the Patriots’ revamped pass rush. This doesn’t bode well for the Buffalo offensive line that just gave up five sacks against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Unfortunately for Peterman, the Bills don’t appear to have the personnel to consistently trade blows with the top defenses in the league. Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes aren’t exactly going to strike fear into the heart of secondaries.
With the quality of their defense, Buffalo will still have a chance to be competitive this year, but the onus will be on Peterman to drag their offenses to respectable performances. Perhaps Peterman will be able to overcome the issues surrounding him on offense. If not, his leash will likely be short with a top-10 pick sitting on the bench behind him.