ORCHARD PARK — Coach Sean McDermott believes the Buffalo Bills gained something from enduring their second-most lopsided loss in franchise history.
And he’s not yet ready to make a change at quarterback.
After making the playoffs for the first time in 17 seasons last year, the Bills have serious issues after Sunday’s 47-3 loss at Baltimore.
On Monday, McDermott praised his team’s effort and intensity in the opener, while acknowledging the Bills need to perform better in all areas.
“We’ll learn from that tape,” McDermott said. “I’m convinced of that.”
McDermott declined to indicate whether he will make a switch at quarterback from opening day starter Nathan Peterman to rookie Josh Allen for Sunday’s home game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
“We’re going to continue to evaluate where we are, dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, and taking it one step at a time,” McDermott said.
Peterman barely made it out of the third quarter in his third career start. He was 5 of 18 passing for 24 yards with two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 0.0 before getting pulled with the Bills trailing 40-0. The Bills did not gain a first down in the first half with Peterman at quarterback.
“This is a quarterback-driven league and I thought there were times where we did some things that were on target, and some times where we weren’t on target,” McDermott said. “We have to get better in every area at what we are doing, not just the quarterback position.”
Peterman won the preseason competition with Allen, the quarterback Buffalo traded up to draft seventh overall out of Wyoming, and veteran AJ McCarron, who has since been traded to the Raiders.
If Peterman hangs on to the starting job, he’ll have to face the Chargers defense that intercepted him five times in the first half of his first career start last November.
McDermott’s decision to bench starter Tyrod Taylor in favor of Peterman last year nearly derailed the Bills’ season after a promising start. But Taylor rallied the Bills to a 9-7 finish and they beat out the Ravens for the final AFC playoff spot.
“You saw what we did with some of those moments last year,” McDermott said. “We learned from those and I’m convinced and confident that our team will continue to learn from this experience.”
Taylor was traded to Cleveland in the offseason to clear the way for the Bills’ young quarterbacks.
Allen was marginally better than Peterman against the Ravens. He completed 6 of 15 passes for 74 yards, ran for 26 yards and guided the Bills on their only scoring drive.
McDermott has repeated throughout the preseason that the Bills wish to take a patient approach in developing Allen.
“There’s a lot of things that go into that decision,” McDermott said. “It’s not just as simple as some might think. There’s a lot of hands in that jar.”
Buffalo’s rebuilt offensive line struggled to protect either quarterback, allowing six sacks.
The Bills’ 153 yards were the fewest they’ve had in a game since gaining 145 in a 40-7 loss at Chicago on Oct. 8, 2006.
The Bills gave up touchdowns on all six of the Ravens’ drives into the red zone. They allowed 26 first-half points, more than they allowed in the first half of all but one game last season, trailing only the 37 points allowed in the loss to the Chargers.
“That’s part of the journey on the way to success,” McDermott said. “It’s never a straight line. It’s never as clean as people think it is, and it’s something that we have to continue to work through.”