Spring 2021 Magazine

Matt Barkley shines as Bills' unlikely standout at quarterback

The Buffalo Bills have had quarterback problems — among many others — all season.

On Sunday, however, facing a potential drop to 2-8 against their division rival New York Jets, they may have found their answer. And he came from the unlikeliest of journeys.

With Josh Allen, Nathan Peterman and 35-year-old in-season pickup Derek Anderson either banged up or demoted, the Bills turned to Matt Barkley for their Week 10 AFC East clash. The same Matt Barkley who last started a game with the Chicago Bears in 2016, who hopped between five different teams over the last four years, and who just signed with Buffalo on Oct. 31.

Yet it was Barkley who delivered not only what may have been the finest performance of his NFL career, but the cleanest performance of any Bills quarterback in 2018.

A former USC star and Wuerffel Trophy winner who originally entered the league as a fourth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, Barkley completed 15 of 25 passes against the Jets on Sunday, throwing for 232 yards, two touchdowns and logging a 117.4 passer rating en route to a 41-10 blowout win.

Like Peterman before him, Barkley is also a noted advocate for his Christian faith. The veteran quarterback, who spent time with the Bears, Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals starting in 2015, has tried to use his platform “for God’s glory” since his college days. He’s been known to sign autographs with a Bible verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6

He’s also proclaimed his faith in an “I Am Second” video:

“I know I’m not in control,” he said in 2011. “God’s working a huge plan right here … I have definitely seen the power of prayer in my life. In our crazy life, in this society when there’s so many things going on, just finding peace and quiet to be able to talk to God is something I’ve found that can be very important.”

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