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The Bills Benched Tyrod Taylor so Nathan Peterman Could Throw Five First-Half Interceptions

The rookie quarterback’s disastrous first start against the Chargers will live in infamy

Buffalo Bills v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Bills have been surprisingly good this year. Though they were on a two-game slide heading into this week, Buffalo still sat at 5-4 and very much alive in the AFC wild-card picture. That made it quite perplexing when they benched quarterback Tyrod Taylor earlier this week even though things were going fine with him under center.

But, I don’t know, maybe head coach Sean McDermott thought the team needed a jolt to keep their playoff push alive. Could it hurt the team to see what Taylor’s backup, rookie fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman, can do?

Anyway, here are some randomly selected passes from the first half of Peterman’s first start against the Chargers:

After his fourth interception, Peterman had completed the same number of passes to Chargers players as he had to Bills. And yet, McDermott trotted him out there on the next possession … where Peterman almost threw another pick. The Bills later punted, and on their next drive, Peterman dropped a shotgun snap on second down. Two plays later, the Bills punted again. Then when Buffalo got the ball back again, Peterman did this:

One of the ways the Bills, who have no true superstar to rally behind, win games is by protecting the football—they came into Sunday with the best turnover differential in the league. Taylor has only thrown three interceptions all year, and after crunching the numbers, I’ve discovered this is actually one fewer than Peterman had in his first nine attempts in Sunday’s game. Taylor also holds the lowest interception rate for any passer in NFL history (minimum 1,000 attempts).

It feels like the Bills could use some of Taylor’s careful decision-making right now. They brought him in to start the second half and he played at his usual decent level, completing 15 of 25 passes for 158 yards, a touchdown, and no picks. But the hole Taylor was left with was too deep to climb out of, and the Bills lost, 54-24. Now it feels as if the team’s chance at making the playoffs is flying out of its hands faster than a Peterman interception.