(AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)

Peterman is Bills' starting quarterback

By JOHN WAWROW , AP Sports Writer

September 03, 2018 - 2:04 pm
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Nathan Peterman will be the Buffalo Bills starting quarterback, a job the second-year player is expected to hold until first-round pick Josh Allen is deemed ready.

The Bills made the announcement on their Twitter account before practice Monday morning as the team prepares for its season opener at Baltimore on Sunday.

"Nate has earned the right," coach Sean McDermott said, noting he based his evaluation on how Peterman has performed and handled himself since the spring. "I've been impressed with his mental toughness, his command of the offense and the way he's generated yards and point in the preseason."

Peterman put up the best passing numbers during the preseason, 33 of 41 for 432 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in two preseason games last month. He was involved in a three-way quarterback competition that was cut to two Saturday when free-agent addition AJ McCarron was traded to Oakland.

The decision to start Peterman is an indication Allen needs more time to develop after an inconsistent preseason.

In three appearances, he went 24 of 44 for 210 yards and two touchdowns. The 22-year-old struggled in a 26-13 loss to Cincinnati on Aug. 26 in his only preseason start.

Buffalo traded up five spots in the draft to select Allen with the seventh pick.

Peterman is a fifth-round draft pick out of Pittsburgh, and is best remembered for throwing five interceptions in the first half of his first start in a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19. He finished 24 of 49 for 252 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions in four appearances, including two starts.

Peterman will get an opportunity to face the Chargers again on Sept. 16, when Buffalo hosts Los Angeles.

The Bills are starting over at what's been an unsettled position since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 season. Peterman will become the 11th quarterback to start a season, including Matt Cassel, who took the first snap in 2015.

The job became open this year after third-year starter Tyrod Taylor was traded to Cleveland in March.

Peterman has a track record of bouncing back from adversity. He had a forgettable outing in his first career start as a redshirt freshman at Tennessee. He had a hand in four turnovers — two interceptions, a fumble while being sacked and a botched handoff — before being pulled during a 31-17 loss at Florida in 2013.

Peterman appeared in just nine games for the Volunteers before transferring to Pittsburgh following his sophomore season.

He excelled as a starter at Pitt, completing 378 of 619 attempts for 5,142 yards with 47 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 26 games. The highlight for Peterman was throwing five touchdowns and no interceptions in leading Pitt to a 43-42 win over previously undefeated and eventual national champion Clemson on Nov. 12, 2016.

NOTES: The Bills also filled out their 10-player practice squad by signing offensive lineman Ruben Holcomb and defensive tackle Robert Thomas.

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