Houston — For a moment Sunday afternoon, it felt like a Nathan Peterman redemption story was about to unfold at NRG Stadium.
When Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen was forced out of the game with an elbow injury, Peterman entered and quickly gave a lift to the offense.
But after a 16-yard touchdown pass put the Bills in position to steal a road win from the Houston Texans early in the fourth quarter, Peterman fell back into his old habit of throwing interceptions.
Peterman had the ball with the game tied 13-13 and a chance to help the Bills climb to .500 for the first time this season. That’s when Texans cornerback Jonathan Joseph jumped Kelvin Benjamin’s route and picked off Peterman’s floater. He took it back for a touchdown and closed the door on the Bills.
After the game, Peterman explained what happened on the play.
“They were bringing pressure. I had made a check and just a bad decision. Can’t chalk it up to anything more that that,” Peterman said. “But this is something I’m going to learn from. It was a critical time.”
The problem is that quarterbacks are judged most by how they perform in the critical times. Even Bills coach Sean McDermott, who has stood by Peterman through his struggles and penchant for turning over the ball, wasn’t pleased with Peterman’s performance.
“We have to have more respect for the football,” McDermott said. “I thought (Peterman) tried to force the football in those situations, and you can’t do that. You have to take what the defense gives you.”
That’s now 11 intercerceptions for Peterman on 79 career passing attempts in six career games.
Peterman is in his second season and still learning how to play the position.
“I thought there are just so many lessons out there for me to learn and get better from,” Peterman said. “I love this game. I put everything I have into this game. I prepare as hard as I can every week, but at the end of the day I know where my true identity lies in Christ. I’m thankful to be here and just trying to get better every day.”
The problem for the Bills is that with a rookie quarterback as the starter, the backup needs to be somebody McDermott can trust.
Few NFL teams keep three quarterbacks on their roster, and after another disappointing performance, it’s time for the Bills to move on from Peterman.
Buffalo signed Derek Anderson this week to be a veteran presence to help Allen as he develops. He provides the Bills a safety net when Allen isn’t able to play, and McDermott said he has confidence in Anderson as a player and quarterback.
“Derek (is) very even-keeled in terms of playing in and playing out situations, game in and game out, week-to-week,” McDermott said this week. “He’s a veteran player that’s been around both the good moments and the low moments. He’s just a steady hand that has a tremendous amount of wisdom baked into him from over the years in different roles.”
It’s time to move on from Peterman and allow Anderson to be Allen’s backup.