Tyrod Taylor knows how to scramble, so it's not as if he feared getting sacked by the rush of reporters that was herded through the doors of the Bills' locker room while he was walking out. Taylor nearly slipped away after the game Sunday before he was stopped at a nearby elevator.
Taylor made two things abundantly clear: He wanted to play Sunday in the Bills' 13-7 win over the Colts but didn't get enough snaps last week to practice to justify leading the offense. He will be healthy enough to play against the Dolphins next week in another critical game at New Era Field.
"Absolutely," Taylor said.
The only thing worse for Taylor than playing in the winter wonderland Sunday was not playing at all. He was bundled up on the sidelines while watching a game that bordered on absurd. It was a miserable day for passing with the heavy winds and snow, not to mention a field that looked more suited for moguls than football.
Bills coach Sean McDermott could have yet another difficult decision waiting for him next week regarding his quarterbacks. Nathan Peterman was in the process – hey, there's that word again – of taking over the No. 1 job before leaving the game for good in the third quarter with a possible concussion.
The Bills darned near threw away the game, and their playoff hopes, when they allowed a 19-play touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. They could have lost after punting on fourth-and-1 from their own 41 with about four minutes left in the game, but they overcame the tying touchdown and dubious decision.
"Through the highs and lows, we were able to keep our focus," Taylor said. "There were so many ups and downs in the game. It just so happened that it was toward the end of the game. I have tremendous confidence in the guys in that locker room. Today, they went out and played their hearts out."
Peterman has his heart ripped out, once again. If he didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all. McDermott has been itching to make the kid his starting quarterback, but each time something happens that sends Taylor back to the huddle. Peterman was placed in a win-win situation Sunday and before getting walloped.
If the Bills won with him, he would have remained the starter next week. If they lost, people would have pointed toward the lousy weather. Peterman merely needed to stay upright against the Colts, and there was a good chance he would have been the Bills' starter for their final four games.
Everything points toward the Bills bidding farewell to Taylor after the season while they continue searching for a franchise QB. They're desperate to find out how Peterman fits into their plans, which is why they want him on the field. Thirteen weeks into the season, and they basically have no idea. It's no clearer than their chances for ending the playoff drought.
"We've watched him in practice since camp," LeSean McCoy said after rushing for 156 yards and the winning touchdown. "I mean, he's talented. He has a bright future. I can't tell if it's right now, but I can tell you that he's going to play in this league for a long time. He has a real good arm, and he's smart."
Peterman merely needed a mediocre performance against the Chargers three weeks ago, and he never would have come out of the starting lineup in the first place. It was a disaster. He threw five first-half interceptions, leaving McDermott with no choice but to hand the offense back to Taylor.
On Sunday, with Taylor injured, Peterman completed five of 10 passes for 57 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin, before getting nailed by Antonio Morrison and Jonathan Hankins. Enter utility player Joe Webb, who hit Deonte Thompson with a 34-yard pass to set up McCoy's touchdown.
"We believe in all three of those guys," Thompson said. "We have chemistry with all three of them. It don't matter, man. Just give a chance to make a play on the ball, and we'll try our best to come down with it."
The Bills say all the right things, but the hierarchy has little faith in Taylor for the long term. He threw for 65 yards against the Saints and was pulled the following week. He threw for 56 yards in three quarters before heading for the locker room with the knee injury against the Patriots.
Meanwhile, Peterman hasn't played enough for a fair assessment. He made his NFL debut while pulling mop-up duty in a blowout loss to the Saints. His first start couldn't have gone any worse, but it was only his first start. Last week, he played the fourth quarter in a lopsided loss to the Patriots. He played the first half Sunday in near whiteout conditions and threw a touchdown pass.
Peterman was in concussion protocol, so we may not know until Wednesday whether he'll be healthy enough to play against Miami. But with the Bills a game over .500 and still in playoff contention, would they dare start him in a critical game next week at home against the Dolphins?
The Bills could have placed Taylor on the injured-reserve list with the bum knee, effectively ending his career in Buffalo while handing the job to Peterman, but that option was never considered. Now, they might need their experienced quarterback even though he's gone after the season and could lead them to their demise before hitting the road.
Peterman getting injured in a victory Sunday actually put their coach in a pickle of sorts. They could return to the kid without knowing how he'll respond in the biggest game of the season. Or they could play Taylor, well aware that his ceiling isn't high enough to meet their needs.
One way or another, without actually earning another opportunity, Taylor has scrambled his way back into the lineup. Remember, the Bills let him walk after last season. But know this: For one reason or another, after the season, he's getting sacked.