As far as Nathan Peterman is concerned, he’s just one snap away from being back in the game.
And he’s correct.
The Buffalo Bills’ backup quarterback is preparing for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts in much the same way he’s prepared for every opponent since being benched in the third quarter of the season opener in favor of rookie Josh Allen. Except now, he’s watching a far more experienced quarterback take reps with the starters.
Derek Anderson, who signed with the Bills on Oct. 9, was named the team’s starting quarterback Wednesday as Allen recovers from an elbow injury suffered in Sunday’s loss at the Houston Texans. Allen is considered week to week.
“It’s a crazy league,” Peterman said after practice Wednesday. “You’re always one play away, so as a player in this league, you’ve got to have a short memory, no matter what that is, what that looks like for next week. I’m going to be ready.”
Peterman has completed 11 of 30 pass attempts (36.7 percent) for 85 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions this season in less than a full game of playing time. His passer rating is 16.7.
Two of those interceptions, including one returned for the game-winning touchdown, came in the final 90 seconds against the Texans.
Bills coach Sean McDermott said Peterman’s past performance was not the sole factor in his decision to name Anderson this week’s starting quarterback.
“I mean, that’s always part of the evaluation, but (it was) one piece, not all of it,” McDermott said. “I feel like this is the right decision for our football team right now.”
But Peterman said the coach's expectations are clear.
“Protect the football. Obviously, that’s No. 1,” Peterman said. “I thought there were some good things on Sunday, and obviously there’s things I can learn from, critical mistakes that obviously didn’t help us win. And I’ll get better from that. I’ll learn from it and move on from it.”
Peterman has thrown nine interceptions in 79 career pass attempts during the regular season since being drafted in the fifth round in 2017. He tossed another pick on three pass attempts in last season’s playoff loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars. His regular season interception rate is 11.39 percent.
Only one player in NFL history has thrown as many pass attempts as Peterman and owns a higher interception rate, according to Pro Football Reference. Wayne Clark had 14 picks in 120 career pass attempts (11.67 percent) with the Chargers, Bengals and Chiefs from 1970-75.
Peterman said he isn’t focused on the past.
“Just take it one step at a time, know that bad things happen sometimes, and you’ve got to learn from it,” Peterman said. “You can’t let it happen again, obviously, and you’ve got to move on and just be ready to play whenever your time comes next.”
McDermott was matter-of-fact in naming Anderson this week’s starting quarterback, Peterman said.
“Just simple. ‘It’s going to be Derek this week,’ ” Peterman said McDermott told him. “And I respect the decision. Obviously, I’m going to be ready this week and keep being ready to help the team however I can.”
Peterman said learning from Anderson can only help make him a better quarterback.
“I think Derek has been great, just to watch him work today, see him take control,” Peterman said. “And 14 years of experience, you’ve got to try to get everything you can from that, and it’s been great watching him.”
McDermott made it clear the Bills aren’t giving up on Peterman.
“He’s got to continue to grow and develop,” McDermott said. “Like I mentioned with Josh, this will give Nate a chance to watch a veteran handle it in a certain way.”