Bills: C.J. Spiller Making It Easy To Forget About Fred Jackson

When Buffalo Bills star running back Fred Jackson broke his leg in Buffalo’s week 11 game against Miami in 2011, media and fans had no idea what the team had in backup running back C.J. Spiller.  However, he went on to show flashes of greatness by running for 446 yards on 86 carries, which equals to just about 5.2 yards per carry.

It was a performance that made people in Buffalo feel comfortable about who was carrying the football.

Sep 16, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller (28) runs with the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Chiefs 35-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

When Jackson sprained his knee in Buffalo’s week one loss to the New York Jets, fans and media didn’t question whether or not Spiller could fill the role left by Jackson. In fact, they expected him to do it, and do it nicely.

Spiller has not only filled in the shoes left by Jackson, but he’s doing it at a record-breaking pace.

After rushing for 169 yards on 14 carries in week one against New York, Spiller continued his trail blazing ways, running the ball 15 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns in Buffalo’s 35-17 win over Kansas City in week two.

With 292 yards on 29 carries this season, Spiller is averaging 10.1 yards per carry through two games. It’s the first time a player has accomplished such a feat since Hall of Famer Jim Brown did it for Cleveland in 1963.  He has even added 5 receptions for 72 yards just for good measure.

He will quickly pass credit to his blockers, but Spiller needs to take credit when credit (how many times can I use the word credit in this sentence?) is due.  Spiller has shown the patience and vision over his last eight games that he didn’t even hint at during his first year and a half with the Bills.

“Early in his career when he was touching the ball six or seven times a game, he was putting a lot of pressure on himself to make a home run,” Bills center Eric Wood told Sun Media NFL Columnist John Kryk. “When you’re doing that, you’re trying to really press.”

Even his own head coach had didn’t see Spiller’s performances coming.

“I would like to tell you, ‘Oh sure, I saw that,’ but it would be a lie,” Gailey told the media after Sunday’s game. “I did not see it happening like this.”

Spiller is fast becoming Buffalo’s most dominant offensive weapon, and is making a strong case to be the starter for the Bills even after Jackson returns later this season.


Topics: AFC, AFC East, Buffalo Bills, C.J. Spiller

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  • NWBill

    No one in Buffalo is going to “forget” Fred Jackson; unlike some other teams, the Bills don’t treat their players like pieces of meat. C.J. isn’t going to be the starter, but he’s going to play a lot; however, this is Fred Jackson’s team. C.J. is proving to make life difficult for Chan and the offensive staff, because they have to come up with an offensive game plan to include two A+ running backs who can also catch the ball, block, and pretty much do it all. But that’s what you want, right? That’s a nice “problem” to have. Fred’s got more of the career, the history of getting it done; his signing of an extension took way too long, in most people’s opinion. But he’s one of the offensive captains; he’s carried this team before … and, like I said, this is his team. One of the reasons the Bills hired Chan Gailey was because of his offensive game-planning; he’s one of the few coaches in the league who can design something that efficiently uses a Fred Jackson AND a C.J. Spiller. It helps that both of them are “team-first” guys … otherwise, neither would be a Buffalo Bill.

    Wouldn’t you rather be coaching those two guys, given their talents … than coaching against them? And then you add on Stevie, and Chandler … and hopefully guys like Donald Jones and rookie T.J. Graham (who has a ton of talent, himself) and you’ve got the makings of a great offense. We’ll just have to see. I think it’s going to be a great year for those guys, and for the team as a whole – much better than last year. Fitz has to reduce his interceptions; he does that, and he’ll be fine. He’s better than people give him credit for.

    You have to remember; the Bills had next to no depth last year – a cog in the machine gets broken, and the whole thing stops working. This year, the talent base is 150% better than it was last year (not even counting Mario Williams) – and that’s going to end up making the difference in getting in the playoffs. Three great drafts in a row have improved things to the point where the guys who didn’t make the 53 man roster THIS year, were desperately needed LAST year. That shows you how things have progressed. Spiller is a part of the overall plan.