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Bills QB Allen week to week with injured throwing arm

No hint as to who would start in Allen's place

October 15, 2018 - 7:45 pm
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WBEN/AP-John Wawrow) — An injury to rookie starter Josh Allen's throwing arm leaves the Buffalo Bills with two less-than-ideal options as potential Plan Bs.

Their first involves handing the job back to turnover-prone backup Nathan Peterman, who has thrown four interceptions in two appearances this season, and 10 overall in seven games, including playoffs.

The other would have 12-year veteran Derek Anderson taking over a little more than a week after being lured out of semiretirement to serve as Allen's mentor.

Coach Sean McDermott on Monday listed Allen as being "week to week," though he declined to entirely rule him out from playing. The first-round draft pick's status is uncertain after hurting his right elbow in a 20-13 loss at Houston on Sunday.

McDermott did not reveal the nature of the injury, and said he expects to get more information once he meets with team doctors Tuesday.

As for a backup plan, McDermott said, "that's something we're working through right now," in acknowledging Peterman's struggles and Anderson's lack of familiarity.

Peterman is best remembered for throwing five interceptions in the first half of a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers in November. And he's coming off an outing in which he threw two interceptions, the first returned 28 yards by Johnathan Joseph for the decisive touchdown with 1:23 left.

"I'm confident in every football player on our football team. With respect to Nate, it's no different," McDermott said. "I understand the fans and that sentiment. But at the same time, I've got to do what we feel is best for the football team moving forward."

McDermott then referred to Anderson as being "a work in progress" as to how familiar he is with the Bills offensive playbook and personnel.

The 35-year-old Anderson attempted just eight passes in three appearances with Carolina last season, and hasn't started a game in nearly two years.

The Bills (2-4) find themselves in this quandary after Allen was hurt while being struck from both sides by Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney. Mercilus struck Allen's throwing arm just after the quarterback released the ball for a 39-yard completion to Kelvin Benjamin.

Allen bent down and grabbed his arm in pain and stayed in for one more play — an incompletion to Zay Jones — before going down to one knee. He was then spotted yelling out in pain while trainers examined his elbow along the sideline.

Allen's injury presents a major setback in both his development and what modest progress the Bills offense has shown in the five weeks since he took over after Peterman unraveled in the first half of a 47-3 season-opening loss at Baltimore.

Allen has a 2-3 record as a starter, but has struggled with consistency in overseeing an offense that lacks proven receivers and features a patchwork line.

Overall, he's gone 75 of 139 for 832 yards passing with two touchdowns passing, three rushing, along with five interceptions and a lost fumble.

Buffalo has yet to top 300 yards this season, and scored just 26 points in its past 14 quarters, dating to the start of the second half of a 27-6 win at Minnesota.

First-year coordinator Brain Daboll's patience is running thin with his unit's lack of production.

"Let's call it what it is, we're not executing the way we need to execute," he said. "We're not where we need to be."

Daboll defended Peterman by noting he's only 24.

"You forget, Nate's a young player, too. Obviously, the production hasn't been there when he has played," he said. "We need to continue to build him up."

The offensive struggles spoiled what was a stout defensive effort in which the Bills forced three takeaways, had a season-high seven sacks and limited Houston to 216 yards. That marked the fewest yards Buffalo has allowed in a loss since giving up 210 in a 23-13 loss to Kansas City on Nov. 3, 2013.

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