Buffalo Bills' confounding decision to bench quarterback Tyrod Taylor backfired immediately as rookie Nathan Peterman had a historically bad first start

  • The Buffalo Bills shocked the NFL world when they chose to bench their starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor.
  • The Bills chose to give rookie Nathan Peterman a shot even though Taylor had been productive.
  • The move blew up in the Bills' face right away as Peterman threw five interceptions.


The Bills' decision to bench quarterback Tyrod Taylor in favor of Nathan Peterman did not look like a good one through two quarters, with Peterman throwing four interceptions in his first nine passes and adding a fifth pick later in the game before he was eventually pulled.

The decision to switch quarterbacks during the Bills' game last week against the New Orleans Saints raised eyebrows. Taylor played poorly, going 9/18 for just 56 yards and an interception before getting pulled, but there hadn't been any overly egregious bad plays that usually come with such a mid-game switch.

When it was announced that Peterman would be the Bills' starter for Week 11, the decision felt even more odd — the Bills were right in the hunt of the AFC Wild Card picture, and Taylor's play had largely been solid on the whole, with 1,600 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, and just three interceptions on the year. Changing quarterbacks at such a crucial moment in the season isn't a common occurrence in the NFL.

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NASHVILLE, TN- SEPTEMBER 10: Safety Karl Joseph #42 of the Oakland Raiders deflects a pass intended for wide receiver Eric Decker #87 of the Tennessee Titans in the first half at Nissan Stadium on September 10, 2017 In Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) )
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 07: Kareem Hunt #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs stiff arms Duron Harmon #30 of the New England Patriots as he runs for a 4-yard rushing touchdown during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 7, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 10: DeShone Kizer #7 of the Cleveland Browns rushes for a touchdown in the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers is tackled by Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 11: Jerick McKinnon #21 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball in the first quarter of the game against the New Orleans Saints on September 11, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 17: Tight end David Njoku #85 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates his touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr /Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 17: J.J. Nelson #14 of the Arizona Cardinals makes a juggling catch in the second quarter of a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 11: Running back Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers dives over strong safety Justin Simmons #31 of the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Corey Grant of the Jacksonville Jaguars is tackled Tony Jefferson of the Baltimore Ravens during the NFL International Series match between Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on September 24, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 08: Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars dives into the end zone for a 2 yard touchdown in the second quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks for an open receiver in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Will Fuller #15 of the Houston Texans makes a reception for a touchdown as he slips behind Terrance Mitchell of the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 15: Tevin Coleman #26 of the Atlanta Falcons stretches for a touchdown against Kiko Alonso #47 and Nate Allen #29 of the Miami Dolphins at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 15: Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins #88 of the New York Jets is seen fumbling the ball after what was originally called a touchdown against strong safety Duron Harmon #30 and cornerback Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter of their game at MetLife Stadium on October 15, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Replay Official reviewed the runner broke the plane ruling, and the play was reversed and called a fumble. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 15: Marshon Lattimore #23 of the New Orleans Saints breaks up a pass thrown to Golden Tate #15 of the Detroit Lions at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 15, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Lions 52-38. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 15: The New Orleans Saints defense celebrates during the second half of a game against the Detroit Lions at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 15, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 15: Wide receiver Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is upended by linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis #57 of the Kansas City Chiefs after a catch over the middle during the second half of the game at Arrowhead Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. ( Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images )
CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 22: Adrian Phillips #31 of the Los Angeles Chargers attempts an interception on a pass to A.J. Derby #83 of the Denver Broncos during the third quarter at StubHub Center on October 22, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 26: A cat runs on the field during the fourth quarter of the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on October 26, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 22: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons catches a touchdown pass as he is defended by Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter of a game at Gillette Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 29: Ted Ginn #19 of the New Orleans Saints catches a pass as he is defended by Eddie Jackson #39 of the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 29, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 06: Brett Hundley #7 of the Green Bay Packers avoids a tackle attempt by Ezekiel Ansah #94 of the Detroit Lions in the third quarter at Lambeau Field on November 6, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 05: Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs passes the ball under pressure from Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys and Brian Price #92 of the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter of a football game at AT&T Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
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A fifth round draft pick out of Pittsburgh, Peterman took the field for his first career NFL start and promptly threw five interceptions in just two quarters of action. He'd put up a final stat line of 6/14 passing for 66 yards, five interceptions, and no touchdowns before getting benched at halftime in favor of Taylor.

In fairness to Peterman, the first interception he threw was more on his receiver, with a tipped pass being picked off by Chargers linebacker Korey Toomer for a touchdown.

 

But with the four other picks he went on to throw, the onus was more or less on Peterman, either throwing dangerous passes he shouldn't have thrown or eyeing his receivers downfield so intensely he was all but telling defenders when and where to jump.

 

 

With the loss the Bills will drop to 5-5 and the path to a potential playoff spot will get a bit more difficult. But before they can think about making the playoffs, they'll have to decide whether or not they're going to give Peterman another shot next week, or go back to Taylor as the starter.

 

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