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Spiller blazes to first 1,000-yard season

Posted Dec 17, 2012


For the first time in his pro career, running back C.J. Spiller eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in one season. More often than not when Spiller touches the ball big things have happened. And though the Bills were far from spectacular as a team in a 50-17 loss Sunday against Seattle in Toronto, Spiller’s milestone was achieved in spectacular fashion as he ran for 103 yards on 17 carries including one touchdown.

The third-year back reached 1,000 yards with the fourth-fewest carries for a running back in NFL history with just 154 rushes. Chicago Bears running back Beattie Feathers (1934) and Tennessee's Chris Johnson (2007) are the only other running backs to have reached 1,000 rushing yards on fewer carries. Feathers reached 1,000 yards on 119 carries in 1934 through just 11 games. Philadelphia QB Michael Vick is the only other player to do it on fewer rushes with 117 carries in 2006 (1,039 yards).

Spiller credited his linemen for giving him space all season on his way to 1,000-plus yards.

““I tip my hat to the offensive line and the guys that have been doing the downfield blocking,” Spiller said. “I wish it would’ve come in a better form in a win. It would’ve this day a whole lot better, but it didn’t. It’s just one of those milestones I can just cross off.”

Down 14-0 late in the first quarter, Spiller took a carry off the right tackle and dashed his way to a 14-yard score. The run broke Spiller’s single-season high with seven touchdowns, after he had six in 2011.

Spiller had a part in all three of Buffalo’s scoring drives. The Bills were only able to get into the red zone once Sunday, resulting in Spiller’s touchdown run.

Spiller carried the ball three times for 25 yards on Buffalo’s second touchdown drive, capped by a Stevie Johnson 20-yard touchdown catch. The touchdown brought the Bills within three scores with under two minutes to play in the first half.

After Rian Lindell hit a 41-yard field goal to put Buffalo just two touchdowns behind at the end of the first half, Spiller admitted spirits were high in the locker room. 

“Everybody was excited because we really thought that getting the ball to start the second half, (having an opportunity to) go down and score real quick (that) we can turn the game around,” Spiller said. “It just didn’t happen and that’s the part that really hurts the most deep down inside. 

“Having been down big like that, my guys still believed that we could still go out there and get the job done.  That’s why I go out there and fight my tail off every play. And I’m just one of the guys.  When we hear that at halftime, it means a lot.”

Head coach Chan Gailey said Spiller played effectively for the offense, but wasn’t able to be used enough when they’re playing catch up.

“I thought he ran the ball well,” Gailey said. “He did some really good things. We could not get him any screen passes. We could not get him the ball in the open field like we wanted to. He made some things happen. Then we got so far behind, we just could not stick with the running game the way we wanted to.”

The Bills started the second half with three straight turnovers, starting with an interception thrown by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick said Spiller along with some other offensive weapons played well even when they didn’t score in the second half.

“It is tough to sit there and hand the ball to C.J., hand the ball to C.J. - but he showed what kind of player he is again today,” Fitzpatrick said.

Spiller added that he couldn’t put the blame on any one person for this loss.

“I’m not into pointing fingers, it’s a collective group,” Spiller said. “We stunk it up today.  We didn’t get our job done. And when you do that you have that type of performance.  We were still able to run the ball decently.  They put eight in the box and we were able to do some things that we liked.

“The only thing that we can really do is look at the things that we did great and just try and correct the things that we didn’t do too good.  We just have to be more disciplined when it comes to offsides and all that stuff.  You’re not going to win too many games when you do that.”