The Buffalo Bills will return to Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback for Sunday's game at the Kansas City Chiefs, coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday.
"It's the right thing for our team," McDermott said. "Every position is the same. We evaluate every week and determine who has earned the right to be the starter."
Taylor started the first nine games of the season, but he was replaced by rookie Nathan Peterman for the Week 11 game at the Los Angeles Chargers. The rookie played one of the worst games in franchise history in a 54-24 loss, becoming the first quarterback since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to throw five interceptions in the first half.
Peterman was mercifully pulled for Taylor, who was 15 for 25 for 158 yards with a late touchdown. He also ran for 38 yards and a score.
McDermott acknowledged that a driving force in going back to Taylor is because the Bills, at 5-5 in the mediocre AFC, are very much in the playoff picture.
"I think part of it is, a large part of it is, understanding big picture," the coach said. "You look around the league, there's a lot of teams in the hunt. We're in the hunt. You sit here and you say, 'Hey, Thanksgiving, and close to the end of November, we're in the hunt.' There's a lot of teams that wish they were in the hunt. We're in the hunt.
"It's what you do with it. It's how we continue to grow and get better and develop. And that's what I'm really looking for us to do is continue to get better every week, every practice, every rep and embrace that mindset."
You tell us: Did the #Bills make the right move in going back to Tyrod Taylor?
— [BN] Blitz (@BNBlitzNow) November 22, 2017
Had McDermott stuck with Peterman, he opened himself up to criticism that he was allowing his ego to impede his judgement — that he was digging in on sticking with the rookie because he refused to admit it was a mistake to start him against the Chargers.
"It's always about the team," the coach said. "And it will always be about the team with me."
McDermott said Peterman took the decision like "a pro, just like you would expect." The coach acknowledged that avoiding the possibility of putting Peterman through another nightmarish experience, and causing more damage to his psyche, factored into the decision to go back to Taylor.
"That's all part of the process," McDermott said. "At some point, rookies have to play and you're seeing that from our team. You're seeing that with a number of young players playing. We're the tops in the league, in fact, at that. That's how you get better, is you play young players, you develop and they get experience.
"That's how you develop the future of an organization, that's how you develop sustained success, that's how you develop a foundation is continue to develop players."
As for Taylor, McDermott said he is not concerned about any residual effect from the change. "He's focused on the Chiefs, just like we all are."
The Bills are riding a three-game losing streak in which they have allowed 135 points, including consecutive games of allowing 47 points or more for the first time in franchise history. The Chiefs have lost four of five games after a 5-0 start and are among the worse defenses in the league against the pass.
McDermott said there was nothing permanent about going with Taylor.
"Every position's the same," the coach said. "We evaluate every week who we feel like has earned the right to be the starter."