Following a strong preseason showing, Nathan Peterman became the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. Like many others, I declared this to be the best decision out of several less-than-ideal choices. Essentially, Peterman as the starter was the result of what a wise man once called “the two sweetest words in the English language”—default.
With the clock showing 11:22 in the third quarter of the season opener, default was dethroned. Josh Allen replaced Peterman following his second interception of the day. Peterman finished the game with five completions on 18 attempts for 24 yards. He failed to lead the team to a single first down.
Head coach Sean McDermott was asked which quarterback will start the following week, as the Bills host the Los Angeles Chargers. Predictably, he indicated he would need to review “the tape” before making that decision. I’ll save him him the trouble. The Peterman experiment should be over.
The primary reason for starting Peterman over Allen should have been his efficacy. Aka, “the best player should take the field.” Peterman’s quick-strike offense and command of Brian Daboll’s offense in the preseason was superior to Allen. On Sunday, his preseason success proved to be a mirage. The pre-snap reads and fast timing offense did not provide Nathan Peterman an advantage. His command of the offense was to the tune of a 0.0 passer rating. Nathan Peterman was not the better player to take the field.
I could be accused of writing Peterman off after a very small sample size. That’s assuredly not the case. Peterman can and likely will continue to improve. However, the Baltimore Ravens showed that Peterman is still a work in progress. That means our quarterback room is filled entirely with developmental prospects. Development takes time and effort, with the starter getting the lion’s share of resources. Who, then, should the Buffalo Bills commit their resources to? Josh Allen is and always was the future.
One could argue that Allen should be protected or allowed to simmer for a little longer. When AJ McCarron exited Western New York, the Bills removed a massive security blanket for Allen, signaling loud and clear that there is comfort in the “what if” of Allen starting. More to the point, McDermott doubled down on his comfort level with Allen by putting him in for nearly half a game where it was clear Allen would experience failure.
Josh Allen was the better quarterback on Sunday. Allen is the future of the Buffalo Bills. The actions of Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have already systematically removed every layer of protection between Allen and the wolves that many were afraid he would be thrown to. Is it ideal that the Josh Allen era begins now? No, but there’s a new default in town.