1 – Peterman and pass protection struggle togetherTo say that Nate Peterman struggled would be an understatement as the rookie quarterback made his debut Sunday. Peterman got off to a bad start, and couldn't turn the tide after his third of what wound up being five interceptions in the first half. It led to 24 Chargers points in a 30-point loss for Buffalo.
"It wasn't what he had hoped for or we had hoped for," said McDermott of Peterman. "At the same time, you know when you put a young player out there, a young quarterback, that there are going to be some ups and downs. To me it's not indicative of who he is as a player, but you know you're going to go through some of this. All good players do."
As much as fans may want to roundly criticize the decision to start Peterman in a pivotal game of the season, he was not alone. For the third straight week, the Bills got beaten at the line of scrimmage, particularly in pass protection.
Los Angeles came in with two pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, who together had more sacks (18) than the entire Bills team this season (14). Though they did not rack up many sacks they made their presence felt early in the game.
Bosa along had an impact on three of Peterman's interceptions. He closed on Peterman on his second interception, an ill-advised throw deep over the middle and forced him to throw off his back foot as he tackled the quarterback on the play.
On Peterman's fourth interception, the quarterback had just reached the top of his drop on a three-step drop. He immediately wound up to deliver the ball and was hit as he threw. The ball was picked off by Casey Hayward, his second of the game.
And Peterman's fifth and final interception, he was hit broadside, while trying to get the ball to Deonte Thompson along the left sideline, but the hit changed the direction of the throw. The ball went into the hands of Trevor Williams.
"I wanted to take a shot, but I got hit at the same time and didn't get to put everything I wanted into it," said Peterman. "So a tough break."
Observing the first half from the sidelines before coming on in relief in the second half, Tyrod Taylor noticed how the team lost the battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball again.
"We haven't been as physical as we would like on both sides of the ball up front or just controlling the line of scrimmage," Taylor said. "That's something that we can correct, but it doesn't just stop there. Across the board execution on both sides of the ball can be better. But a physical mindset is something that we have to get back to and it's something that played a big role in our five wins."
2 – Defense can't get stops againThe Bills defense was handed more than their share of short fields on Sunday, due mainly to turnovers, but winning at the line of scrimmage for them proved difficult as well. For the second consecutive game, Buffalo's defense could not get off the field.
The Chargers scored points on seven of their first eight possessions. The only reason they failed to score on their first possession was because kicker Nick Novak missed a 46-yard field goal.
"On defense, we have a job to do. No matter where the ball is spotted on the field, no matter what the offense does. We have to play better," said Jordan Poyer. "We have to be able to play more disciplined. We've got to come into work and fix our mistakes. It's just tough. Tough losses for us three weeks in a row. We just have to continue to work."
Los Angeles didn't have to punt until there was 2:54 left on the clock in the third quarter. It was the first punt forced by Buffalo's defense since the 13-minute mark of the fourth quarter of their Week 9 game against the Jets. So on 22 straight possessions over two-plus games, the Bills defense couldn't get a stop.
"The game got away from us in a hurry, due to the turnovers in part," said head coach Sean McDermott. "That said there are areas we can get better at."
For the second straight game, the Bills defense surrendered more than 400 yards of offense. They gave up a pair of touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
3 – McCoy finds some holesIf there was a bright spot Sunday it was that LeSean McCoy broke off some big runs and went over 100 rushing yards for the 13th time as a Bill. That moved him into a tie for the fifth-most in team history with Travis Henry and Joe Cribbs. He finished with 114 yards on just 13 carries.
McCoy's best back-to-back plays came on the team's two-play 64-yard scoring drive. On a 1st-and-10, McCoy came around the left side behind Vlad Ducasse and Richie Incognito, picked a crease and scampered 37 yards to the Chargers 27-yard line.
On the very next play he went off the left end again where there was a gaping hole and reached the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown run.
"We schemed them up really well and got some one on ones," said McCoy. "We ran well. I even missed one or two and we still ran well. The guys up front were really dialed in and got it done. Rico (Dennison) called some good plays. The running game was solid."
"I thought that was a positive," said McDermott. "We did run the ball well at times and made some big runs. Give some credit to our offensive line coach and Rick Dennison. They had a good week of practice and identified some areas where we thought we could run the ball."
Los Angeles came into the game with the league's worst run defense.
McCoy now has 36 100-yard rushing games in his NFL career.