In what turned out to be a soggy day at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Sunday’s contest against Jacksonville, the Bills’ turned to the running game to effectively move the football and eventually score a 34-18 victory.
With running back
Jackson, who played behind Spiller in last week’s loss to Indianapolis, finished the game with 109 yards rushing on 25 carries. Sunday marks Jackson’s first 100-yard rushing game since Nov. 13 of last year where he ran for 114 yards in a blowout loss to Dallas.
Jackson said it’s been a haul since he’s had a productive game like this.
“For me to get back out there and get established it’s a long time coming,” Jackson said. “It’s a big lift off my shoulders and hopefully I can keep building from here.”
Head coach Chan Gailey admitted he was elated to see Jackson execute.
“I was so happy for him because there is nobody that continues to work harder to help this football team win than Fred does,” Gailey said. “I was really excited for him.”
“I love Fred,” Levitre said. “Fred’s been a great back since I’ve been here so it’s awesome to get him over a hundred. We’ve been using C.J. (Spiller) a lot too and I think they’re the best one-two punch in the league right now. It’s hard to beat the group of running backs we have right now.”
After an unproductive first half, Spiller finally broke a big run off the left edge on his way to a 44-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Spiller finished with 77 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Jackson said he and Spiller anticipated a lot of carries Sunday due to the sloppy conditions even if Spiller was expected to carry the load more often.
“Everybody wants to be on the field,” Jackson said. “My job is just to get out there and make plays when I get the opportunities. I felt like coming out here seeing what type of game it was we were going to have to run the ball. I felt like we would be out there and get that opportunity to make plays. I told C.J. to expect the ball a lot. We got the running game going early so it was something that I wanted to do personally and I’m just going to continue to try to make plays when I get out there no matter what the workload is. I feel like I can make a play when I get out there and that’s what I’m going to try and do.”
Jackson picked up seven first downs for the Bills himself and was handed the ball six straight times on an eight play, 29-yard drive that led to a 50-yard
The veteran back said he feels responsible for pounding the ball between the tackles.
“That’s something we look at as an offense and say we’ve got to do,” Jackson said. “It’s something I put on my shoulders. I feel like I’m that type of back. If they give it to me on 3rd-and-short I’ve got to get it. So it was something we focused on all week, more myself than anybody. If we get in 3rd-and-short situations I want the ball and I’ve got to make that play.”
The Bills racked up 232 yards rushing total and Jackson admitted this is what he expects from the Bills’ game plan every Sunday.
“Without a doubt,” Jackson said. “We feel like our best players are in the running back room. That’s how we want to approach the game is go out there and get started early and we feel like if we do that it gives us a good opportunity to win football games. If we continue to do this and we go out and make plays then the running back room it’s going to take a lot of pressure off our offense and allow us to make big plays down the field too.”