Former Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman had a rough rookie debut with the Buffalo Bills last season, but he’s worked his way back into the good graces of Bills head coach Sean McDermott and has officially beaten out rookie Josh Allen for the start in the team’s season opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 9.
”Nate has earned the right,” McDermott said, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN. “I thought his total body of work, all the way back from the spring through the summer and fall camp to this point — he has certainly earned the right.”
For Peterman, it’s been a long journey back to Buffalo’s first team, and the front office has signaled along the way that he was not the favorite for the job. First, free-agent quarterback A.J. McCarron was signed shortly after longtime Bills starter Tyrod Taylor was sent to the Cleveland Browns in March. Then, the Bills selected Allen with the seventh overall pick in the NFL draft.
Both developments indicated that Bills general manager Brandon Beane wasn’t comfortable moving forward with Peterman as his starter under center, and a battle ensued for the job.
While most Bills fans clamored for Allen, the word from the front office was that the battle was actually between Peterman and McCarron. During camp, the two split first-team reps, but an injury suffered by McCarron seemed to derail his progress before Buffalo’s second preseason game.
In that exhibition matchup with the Browns, McCarron got off just six passes and completed three. He saw no action in the Bills’ game against the Bengals the next week but got an extended look in the team’s preseason finale, a 28-27 win over the Chicago Bears. However, despite throwing for three touchdowns, he completed just 38 percent of his passes for 156 yards and threw two picks.
For comparison, Peterman completed 33 of his 41 passes for 431 yards and three touchdowns and was picked off just once on a ball that ricocheted off the shoulder of his intended receiver. Allen, meanwhile, took 44 attempts to amass 210 yards. And given McCarron was traded to the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 1, Peterman was clearly the best option remaining.
Peterman’s first start of the 2018 season will come on Sept. 9, when the Bills head to M&T Bank Stadium to face the Ravens. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.