The Buffalo Bills tried hard not to put rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman in bad positions Sunday in Los Angeles.
So much for best-laid plans.
The Bills kept extra blockers in to protect on nine of Peterman's 14 pass attempts. Peterman's inexperience and the greatness of Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa combined to blow up the Bills' game plan in their 54-24 defeat.
Three of Peterman's five interceptions came on plays with extra protection. Peterman was just 3 of 9 for 31 yards with the three INTs on extra-blocker passes.
Bosa had one sack, seven hurries and four hits on the quarterback, based on video review of the game. The Chargers did not have to blitz to get pressure. They only rushed five men three times against Peterman. He was 0 for 3 with one pickoff on those plays.
A quick review of the five INTs, with a closer eye on pass protection:
1. Patrick DiMarco dropped an on-target Peterman pass. It was a bootleg with tight end Nick O'Leary helping protect. Credit Bosa with a hurry by attacking the bootleg. Peterman got the ball out of his hands in 2.7 seconds.
2. Bosa beat left tackle Dion Dawkins with a bull rush and hit Peterman in only 2.45 seconds. Anything under 2.5 seconds is generally viewed as a quick throw. The Bills used five blockers. Peterman did have room to step up in the pocket. Instead, he hopped back and threw off his back foot over the middle for Zay Jones, who was going deep.
3. Bosa beat right tackle Jordan Mills quick around the edge. Peterman released the ball in just 1.9 seconds. It's hard to kill the rookie on that one. Maybe he could have protected the ball better. But this was a scheme win for the Chargers. They sent six rushers. The Bills kept seven in to block. But back Travis Cadet, who stayed in to help protect, was forced to move outside of Mills to pick up blitzing safety Adrian Phillips.
4. Bosa made Mills whiff with an inside move and hit Peterman, even though it was a three-step drop and LeSean McCoy was on that side to help block. Peterman threw in 1.49 seconds but didn't realize Casey Hayward was squatting on the route. The ball should have gone to Charles Clay, open on a hook route on the same side as intended receiver Deonte Thompson.
5. Bosa hit Peterman again after he released the pass, but the pressure did not affect the throw, intended for Thompson. The QB and receiver were not on the same page. The Bills blocked with five, and Peterman released in 2.5 seconds.
The Chargers were protecting a giant lead in the second half against Taylor. He dropped back 27 times and had a sixth blocker to help protect on six of them.
The sack-fumble-touchdown against Taylor was a five-man protection. Bosa beat Mills again to the outside to get the sack. Taylor held the ball 2.78 seconds, a tad longer than normal. He was trying to make a play in a desperate situation. Taylor was 4 of 5 for 51 yards against Chargers blitzes.