Bills' McDermott still evaluating on who will start at QB
By JOHN WAWROW
Nov. 21, 2017
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills coach Sean McDermott isn't going to be rushed into choosing a starting quarterback a day after his decision to go with rookie Nathan Peterman backfired.
McDermott on Monday said he's still evaluating whether to give Peterman another start or return to Tyrod Taylor for Buffalo's game at Kansas City this weekend.
Peterman unraveled in a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday by throwing five interceptions in the first half before being replaced by Taylor with the Bills down 40-7.
Buffalo (5-5) has lost three straight, with McDermott being roundly criticized for taking what he called "a calculated risk" to switch starters while his team is in the playoff race.
"I own the decision and as I said yesterday, I don't regret the decision. I do regret the result, and there's other hands also in the result," he said. "You go back and you learn from it. I learn from it as a head coach, and I expect all to learn from and we grow and we move forward."
Others questioned the move, including Hall of Fame coach broadcaster Tony Dungy.
"For the life of me, I don't know why they did it," Dungy said during NBC's Sunday night broadcast.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman went to Twitter in questioning the decision during the game by writing: "So they bench my guy @TyrodTaylor and the guy they bring in has already thrown 2picks with 10mins left in the 1st. Great decision."
McDermott refused to be swayed even when acknowledging the quarterback switch failed to provide much spark to what had been a sputtering offense. He instead maintained confidence in Peterman, a fifth-round draft pick who split his college career at Pittsburgh and Tennessee.
"One game is not going to define Nathan or Nathan's career," he said. "Young players go through it. And you saw some of it yesterday, and I put that back on myself."
McDermott most notably praised Peterman for a 20-yard completion to Kelvin Benjamin on Buffalo's opening drive, noting the pass was on time and thrown in a crowd over the middle. Taylor, who has a 20-18 record, has been knocked for being too conservative with his passes, and hesitant to throw over the middle.
Taylor has at least been efficient, having thrown just three interceptions.
McDermott said he's not going to make any snap decisions on his quarterback. The first-year coach also reiterated he's sticking to a big-picture vision on how to transform the Bills into a winner beyond this season.
"It burns. It burns hard. You don't want that result that we had yesterday," he said. "We're building. And this is part of the growth process. You go through these pains."
The loss to the Chargers was among the Bills' most painful during a 17-season playoff drought that stands as the longest active streak in North America's four major professional sports.
Peterman went 6 for 14 for 66 yards over seven first-half possessions and became the first quarterback since 1970 to throw at least five interceptions in the first half of a game, according to Elias Sports Bureau. He did oversee one touchdown drive, which had him hand the ball off twice to running back LeSean McCoy for a 37-yard gain, followed by a 27-yard touchdown run.
Otherwise, Peterman threw interceptions on four of Buffalo's first five drives, and then another one to close the half. The turnovers accounted for the Chargers scoring 24 points, including Korey Toomer returning one 59 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring.
The Chargers' pass rush rattled Peterman into throwing at least two interceptions. The first one, however, wasn't entirely the quarterback's fault. His pass hit off the hands off fullback Patrick DiMarco and deflected into Toomer's hands.
"I did not play very well," Peterman acknowledged after the game. "As things start to happen, I have to let them go. I have to put more on myself."
Taylor mopped up, going 15 of 25 for 158 yards with a touchdown passing and one rushing, while also losing a fumble that was returned for a score.
Taylor was abruptly benched after he went 9 of 15 for 56 yards and the Bills managed four first downs through 55 minutes in a 47-10 loss to New Orleans on Nov. 12.
NOTES: McDermott said tests showed Benjamin did not sustain any ligament damage to his right knee after being hurt while making a 20-yard catch on Buffalo's opening drive. McDermott did not say whether Benjamin would be cleared for practice this week. ... McDermott said S Micah Hyde "checked out fine" after the starter did not return after hurting his knee.
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