ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott reversed course. Tyrod Taylor will start at Kansas City on Sunday, a week after McDermott’s decision to start rookie Nathan Peterman backfired.
McDermott on Wednesday called his decision to return to Taylor “the right thing for our team,” after Peterman threw five interceptions in a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers last week.
Taylor, who is 20-18 in 2½ seasons in Buffalo, was benched after going 9 of 18 for 56 yards through 55 minutes in a 47-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 12.
Peterman is a fifth-round pick out of Pittsburgh who became the first quarterback to throw five interceptions in the first half since the NFL merger in 1970. He finished 6 of 14 for 66 yards and was replaced by Taylor to start the third quarter with Buffalo trailing 40-7.
Taylor mopped up by going 15 of 25 for 158 yards, with a touchdown and a lost fumble. He also scored on a 2-yard run.
The Bills (5-5) have lost three straight.
McDermott waited until Wednesday to announce his decision after saying he was still evaluating his options on Monday.
The first-year coach faced heavy criticism over the past week for making what he called “a calculated risk” in going with an unproven rookie at a time the Bills held the AFC’s sixth and final playoff spot. Buffalo is also in the midst of a 17-season playoff drought, the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports.
On Wednesday, McDermott shook his head “No,” when asked if he had any regrets about starting Peterman.
He justified his decision to make the switch last week by saying he was doing what he felt was best for the team. And he said the same applied in making the switch back to Taylor.
“I felt like it was the right decision, and right now the best decision for us is to focus on the Kansas City Chiefs,” McDermott said.
“I don’t believe in making irrational snap decisions. I don’t think that’s right,” he added. “But you make decisions and you go with it. And sometimes you learn.”
Taylor has been inconsistent in leading Buffalo’s passing attack, which ranked 28th last week before slipping to 30th this week. His strength is being a dual threat by adding a running option, and protecting the ball.
Taylor has gone 178 for 279 for 1,842 yards passing with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions and a lost fumble.
Taylor expressed disappointment after being benched a week ago, while suggesting he also had a feeling of being betrayed.
“I don’t agree with the decision, but ultimately coach McDermott has a vision for this team,” Taylor said. “I have to move forward and continue to be a teammate and the leader that I am in a different role.”
The Bills’ defense presents a bigger concern for McDermott. Buffalo has allowed 135 points and a whopping 638 yards rushing during the three-game skid.