Five strikes, you're out

Nathan Peterman was given ample opportunity in Buffalo

Joe DiBiase
November 13, 2018 - 1:07 am

Photo: Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports


The Nathan Peterman era in Buffalo is over.

The Bills released their 2017 fifth round draft pick on Monday night as the team heads into the bye week. This comes off the heels of a very impressive performance by Matt Barkley against the New York Jets this past Sunday in the Meadowlands. Barkley is the second street free agent to start over Peterman this year after the Bills picked Peterman to start the regular season against the Baltimore Ravens. Over-and-over again, Peterman was given opportunities to put together a game like Barkley did, but over-and-over fell well short. 

Looking back on Peterman's time in Buffalo, none of it is really his fault. He should have never been put in the spots he was put into. That is on the Bills, not him. If he goes to some random team like the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, or whoever in the fifth round, he most likely still wouldn't have played and isn't a national punchline. 

The Bills must have seen something from Peterman. Whether he had opportunities because he was great in practice, great in preseason, mature, or faith driven, it never translated to success in games that mattered.


  • Strike One - Peterman proves he wasn't ready as a rookie

Sean McDermott did what? I couldn't believe it when I heard it. The Bills were benching Tyrod Taylor for a fifth round rookie in the middle of a legit playoff race. I had accepted what Taylor was, and was okay with that. Turning to a fifth round rookie in that spot seemed insane. That's not a move a 5-4 team makes, that's something a 1-8 team does. Nobody, not even I could have predicted how epically awful Peterman's first NFL start would go. 

The game at a soccer field in Los Angeles will forever be known as the five interception game. Peterman panicked, rushed passes, and showed a lack of arm strength in a historically bad showing versus the Chargers. He didn't make it to the second half - a trend that would continue with him. 

A game that is often forgotten is the snow game. Peterman started the game and did all he could. All anyone could. He led a drive late in the first half that resulted in a Kelvin Benjamin touchdown, but he didn't make it through the game after suffering a concussion in the third quarter. Tthe biggest throw in the game was made by quarterback/gunner/wide receiver Joe Webb in overtime to wide receiver Deonte Thompson.

  • Strike Two - Peterman proves he can't come up in the clutch

Despite the Chargers game and despite a three-game losing streak in the middle of the season, the Bills persevered. Amazing. A storybook ending to the regular season to make the playoffs.

Fittingly, the season ended on a Peterman interception. Yes, the Jacksonville Jaguars defense was great. Yes, Tyrod Taylor and the Bills offense did nothing all day. 

Nathan Peterman entered that ball game with 1:16 remaining, at midfield, down a touchdown. Oh, no. The guy that was going to try and save our season was the five interception guy. It was a chance for Peterman to make everyone forget the Charger game ever happened. A chance to change his legacy. Sure enough, four plays in, Peterman threw his trademarked out route interception. Season over.

  • Strike Three - Peterman proves he can't be the bridge for the rookie

He won the starting job...

Despite signing A.J. McCarron, and drafting a quarterback higher than the team ever has, Peterman managed to beat them both out to be named the Bills' starting quarterback. An offense that instilled little confidence, now instilled even less for some. 

We all know how the Ravens game went. Zero first downs in the first half. Need I say more? Not only did I, and many others, not want him to start again, I didn't want him on the roster. A backup quarterback's job is to play when the starter goes down and keep the ship afloat. Peterman's small sample size said the ship was going down.

The Bills were stuck. Maybe they didn't realize it yet, but they had traded away two veteran quarterbacks that they could have turned to, but once again didn't anticipate Peterman being as bad as he was. The rookie was the only alternative, but there sat Peterman on the bench. One injury away from having play again.

  • Strike Four - Peterman proves he can't be the backup

Once again, you just want a backup who won't lose you the game. Credit to Peterman, he led the Bills down the field and took the lead against the Houston Texans with a nice touchdown throw to Zay Jones. I hadn't seen Josh Allen have that nice a drive all game.

As the Bills radio network producer, I hear the plays about eight seconds before they happen on television. I do my best to hide my reactions to not give anything away to those around me. This time, I couldn't do it. I don't know what facial expression I made, but it caused Mike Schopp and the Bulldog to perk up knowing something was about to happen. 

There it was again. The trademarked out route pick. Again. And again, it cost the Bills a game. 

  • Strike Five - Peterman proves any street free agent is a better option

The Bills finally got it. They needed another quarterback. Derek Anderson was the guy. Fine. Almost anyone at that point would suffice. Peterman was now two injuries away from playing. Those two injuries happened. The guy with a five interception game, the guy who couldn't save your season in Jacksonville, the guy with a zero first down game, the guy who lost the game in Houston, he was going to get one final shot. 

You have got to be kidding me. Just when I thought nothing could surprise me with this guy, he ran on a Hail Mary play. There are really only two logical explanations for why someone takes off running at midfield with no time on the clock instead of putting the ball in the end zone. Either he just flat out wasn't thinking, something that's seemed to happen with him in the past, or he didn't want to throw an interception. Already a joke nationally for throwing picks, maybe Peterman didn't want another graphic on ESPN after the game showing four interceptions. 

Enter Matt Barkley. Street free agent No. 2. His 15-for-25, 232 yards and two-touchdown win over the Jets was the final nail in the coffin for Peterman's roster spot.


Now that Peterman's time in Buffalo appears over, it'd be nice to see another team pick him up, and give him the proper time and tools to develop. He seems like a nice guy and a good guy. It can't be easy going through what he has in the last 12 months. The ironic thing is, his being such a good guy may have been what got him so many chances in the first place.

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