Former Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman made his NFL debut in the Buffalo Bills’ 17-10 preseason loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.
While he only completed 52 percent of his passes, he got the bulk of the playing time under center. He also happened to score the team’s only touchdown when he lobbed a beauty of a pass to the corner of the end zone for wide receiver Dezmin Lewis in the fourth quarter.
If that wasn’t enough, he also ran for 26 yards on four carries and was the only Bills quarterback to avoid getting sacked.
When all was said and done, Peterman had thrown for 112 yards and earned a quarterback rating of 77.4, which was just shy of Tyrod Taylor’s 78.1 and an improvement on T.J. Yates’ 65.7. That’s a decent result, considering this was Peterman’s first game and the Vikings defense ranked third in the NFL against the pass last season.
Coming into the game, Peterman had been battling with Yates for second-string status behind Taylor. Yates was the presumed No. 2 on the depth chart when he was brought in, since he played under Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison in Houston and is entering his seventh season in the league. However, the battle has gotten a bit more complicated.
Peterman was practicing with the Bills’ second team on July 29, according to Kyle Silagyi of Bills Wire. By Monday, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW reported that Peterman’s second-team reps had significantly diminished, making him the likely third-stringer.
In addition to that, Dennison gave his take on Peterman during a press conference that same day, and although much of it was complimentary, one line stood out above the rest.
“His progression is a lot like T.J.’s when he was a rookie,” he said.
Aside from that being something of a backhanded compliment, it also revealed exactly how Dennison envisioned the pecking order for his group of quarterbacks at that time.
With that said, Peterman’s performance Thursday night may have given Dennison something to think about, and he’ll get a chance to prove himself against softer defenses than Minnesota’s in the Bills’ next three preseason outings.
If you’re a fan of Peterman, this is relevant because Taylor has yet to play a full 16-game season in his career, meaning his backup may actually see some meaningful playing time.