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Bills rookie Josh Allen named starting QB vs. Chargers

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The Josh Allen era in Buffalo will begin in earnest this Sunday.

Bills coach Sean McDermott announced Wednesday that the rookie quarterback will start Buffalo's Week 2 home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers under center.

"It's the right move for our team," McDermott told reporters. The coach would not discuss whether naming Allen the starter was a permanent decision.

Allen, the seventh overall pick, will replace ineffective second-year quarterback Nathan Peterman, who mustered a 0.0 passer rating in Buffalo's 47-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week.

Allen replaced Peterman on Buffalo's third drive of the third quarter with the Bills already down 40-0. The rookie led Buffalo's lone scoring drive, a 12-play march that ended in a field goal. Allen completed just 40 percent of his 15 attempts for 74 yards and took three sacks against Baltimore.

Bills coach Sean McDermott had said after the loss and in the following days that he'd evaluate the film before coming to a decision under center. On Wednesday, he finally made that choice and had no regrets about his initial one to start Peterman.

"I felt like just like this is the right move," McDermott explained, "I felt like that was the right move and I'll take that to my grave." 

Allen will be the second rookie quarterback to start a game this season; third-overall pick Sam Darnold made his debut for the Jets on Monday night.

"He's going to get valuable experience from being ... behind the steering wheel," McDermott said of starting the rookie. "There's certainly valuable experience when you can stand and watch. But as we all know, there's no substitute for the experience when you're actually behind the wheel. There's a lot of value to that."

Allen, Peterman and AJ McCarron entered training camp in a three-way battle for the Bills' starting gig. Each flashed potential, but Peterman finished as the most efficient preseason passer and was named the Week 1 starter. Upon losing the starting job, McCarron was shipped by Buffalo to the Oakland Raiders for a fifth-round pick. The Bills currently employ just two QBs -- Allen and Peterman -- on their active roster.

In addition to giving Allen to the keys to the franchise, benching Peterman this early in the season is also likely a preventive measure against playing Peterman versus the Chargers again. In his first career start, Peterman memorably threw five interceptions in the first half against L.A. before being replaced by Tyrod Taylor for the final frames.

While Allen resembled a rookie at times in his first career snaps on Sunday, his ability to move in and out of the pocket and throw with pace sets him apart from Peterman, whose rigidity and indecisiveness held Buffalo back from the jump in Baltimore.

The Bills will need more this week and going forward than just improved play under center to stay in contention. Stronger offensive line play and more separation from their wide receivers sure would help.

In starting Allen, at least, the Bills aren't afraid to improve the most important position on the field, even if it means throwing a rookie gunslinger into the fire earlier than expected.

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