It was one of the most illogical coaching decisions made all season. On Nov. 15, Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott announced that rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman would get the start against the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19. The Bills were still in the AFC Playoff picture at the time and in the two-game losing streak prior to the Chargers game, quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 38-of-58 passes for 341 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
To call McDermott’s decision an overreaction is a fair assessment, but it’s a decision in line with what Taylor previously said he’s had to deal with.
“When we win, everything’s great,” Taylor said in an interview with Kimberly Martin in October. “When we lose, they want to crucify me. So, if I let my emotions get tied into that, I’d be a nervous wreck.”
Taylor said there’s a particular reason he’s constantly playing on such thin ice.
“It’s always going to be twice as bad just because of who I am — an African American quarterback,” he said to Martin. “Look across the league, man. We’re held to a certain standard. We almost have to be perfect.”
To further rub salt into the wounds after a week of being criticized by the public for benching Taylor, Peterman put together arguably the worst first-half performance in the history of quarterbacks. Peterman completed 6-of-14 passes for 66 yards and five interceptions. He was well on pace to break the NFL record of eight interceptions in a game. Peterman was benched to begin the second half and Taylor came back in, completing 15-of-25 passes for 158 yards, one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown and one fumble. The Bills lost 54-24 after falling behind 37-7 at halftime.
So has this experience changed McDermott’s mind?
“I don’t regret my decision. I regret the result, McDermott said after the loss. “This is in part about winning now and in part about winning in the future.”
The coach went on to say that he’ll evaluate both quarterbacks throughout the week before making his decision on who will be the team’s starter moving forward.