Oh, No … Nathan Peterman Is Starting An NFL Game

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Well, ladies and gentlemen. Despite their best efforts to NOT start Nathan Peterman this season, the Chicago Bears are starting Nathan Peterman.

Seriously, earlier this year they considered risking Justin Fields’ health to not start Nathan Peterman. They started Trevor Siemian in Week 12, who hurt himself in pregame warmups, instead of starting Nathan Peterman.

But with absolutely nothing to play for in Week 18, Fields nursing an injury, and Siemian on IR, Nathan Peterman will start an NFL game.

If you don’t remember — and I honestly don’t know how you couldn’t — Peterman had arguably the worst first start in NFL history.

Nathan Peterman’s ‘historic’ first NFL start

As a member of the Buffalo Bills, Peterman started against the Los Angeles Chargers on November 19, 2017. Head coach Sean McDermott benched him at halftime. But the damage had been done.

Peterman managed to throw five interceptions in the first half. He started the contest 2-2 for 24 yards and appeared like he might be at least moderately competent. But that’s when the wheels completely fell off.

He threw a pick-six on the next attempt. On the ensuing drive, his first pass fell incomplete and his second pass was intercepted.

Third drive, mercifully, LeSean McCoy scored on two carries for 64 yards and Peterman managed to at least hand the ball off properly.

Fourth drive, another pick. Fifth drive, one play, interception. Sixth drive, three-and-out, punt! Seventh drive, punt. Eighth drive, Tyrod Taylor enters game. The Peterman experiment ends with a 6-14 line, 66 yards passing and five interceptions.

The Bills lost the game, 54-24.

Nathan Peterman (probably) throws an interception against the Chargers.
Nathan Peterman throws a pass against the Chargers that was most likely intercepted. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Peterman’s passer rating for the game was 17.9. For context, if he had just spiked the ball into the ground 14 times and gone 0-14 for 0 yards, his passer rating would have been 39.6.

You can watch the “highlights” on YouTube.

Bills, remarkably, turned back to Peterman

Despite that line, Peterman got a second start a few games later. He went 5-10 passing for 57 yards and a touchdown (!!) in a 13-7 Bills win over the Colts.

Since his rookie season, Peterman has two other NFL starts under his belt.

He started Buffalo’s season opener in 2018 and, somehow, was almost worse than in his first career start.

The Bills lost to the Ravens 47-3, and Peterman completed a miserable 27.8% (!!) of his passes (5-18) for 24 yards and two interceptions. McDermott benched Peterman again, this time replaced by a rookie quarterback going by the name “Josh Allen.”

Peterman got one more start in Buffalo, a Week 9 assignment vs. Chicago. The Bills — stop me if you’ve heard this before — got blown out, 41-9. The second-year signal caller played possibly his best game, completing 31-49 passes for 188 yards, but also tossed three more picks.

Here we go again…

That is the last time Nathan Peterman started a football game in the NFL. November 4, 2018. It’s been over 1,500 days since that game. Fitting that it came against Chicago, the team he will now start for on Sunday.

The Nathan Peterman experiment begins again, this time with the Chicago Bears.
The Nathan Peterman experiment begins again, this time with the Chicago Bears. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Since that fateful day, Peterman has attempted a grand total of 11 passes. For his career, the now-28-year-old career backup has three touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. His passer rating is 32.2.

Again, if he had simply had spiked the ball on every, single career snap he would have a higher passer rating than he does now.

In his four starts (all with Buffalo), Peterman is 1-3. The average score of those games is Bills 12, opponents 37.

Despite all of that, Peterman will start for the Chicago Bears on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. And the Bears are “just” 7.5-point underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook.

And, actually, I incorrectly stated earlier in the article that the Bears have “nothing” to play for.

If the Houston Texans win on Sunday and the Bears lose, Chicago “earns” the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. Perhaps there’s a strategy here, after all.

The Bears are playing chess while everyone else plays checkers.


Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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