The Buffalo Bills will wait until handing the keys of the offense over to their rookie quarterback.
Nathan Peterman will start Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens, the Bills announced Monday. Peterman earned the job after completing 33-of-41 passes for 431 yards, three touchdowns and one interception during the preseason.
First-round pick Josh Allen, whom the Bills traded up aggressively for in April, will begin the season as the No. 2. The other QB on the Bills' roster this preseason, A.J. McCarron, was traded to the Oakland Raiders on Saturday for a fifth-round pick.
The move makes sense for a variety of reasons. The Bills early-season schedule is brutal, including some tough defenses. The Ravens led the NFL in takeaways last season, and the Bills draw two of the toughest defensive fronts and secondaries in Weeks 2 and 3 with the Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota VIkings.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Ravens are 14-2 vs. rookie QBs at home under head coach John Harbaugh, and they have allowed rookie quarterbacks to throw for only four touchdowns with 13 INTs at M&T Bank Stadium.
It might not be wise to give the ball out of the gates to Allen, who was up and down in the preseason, behind Buffalo's rebuilt offensive line. Allen was sacked five times in the third preseason game while attempting only 12 passes. It was his worst performance after two promising outings.
Of course, the second-year Peterman struggled badly last season in his first NFL start against ... the Chargers. He also struggled in a snowblinded game against the Colts and later threw a late pick in the Bills' playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, replacing a concussed Tyrod Taylor in what ended up being the former starter's final game for the franchise.
It's possible that the Bills keep Peterman on a short leash, similar to what the Chicago Bears did with Mike Glennon last season with Mitch Trubisky waiting in the wings. Peterman will be the Bills' 17th starting quarterback since 1997, the franchise's first year without Jim Kelly.