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Spiller closing in on Thurman's mark

Posted Nov 28, 2012


Buffalo has won only two of their last six games, but one constant has been C.J. Spiller’s production. Through that six-game stretch Spiller has posted 100 or more total yards from scrimmage in each of them. That production has the Bills back closing in on a consecutive games streak held by one of Buffalo’s two Hall of Fame running backs.

Thurman Thomas holds the team record for most consecutive games with 100 or more total yards from scrimmage with nine. He did it from game nine in 1992 through game one in 1993. During his run Thomas averaged 110 rushing yards per game and about 30 receiving yards per outing (29.8).

Spiller on his current streak is averaging 77.5 rushing yards per game and 35.5 yards receiving. Where the real disparity lies is in the numbers of touches per game between Spiller and the Bills Hall of Famer.

Thomas averaged close to 26 touches per game on his nine-game streak. Spiller is almost getting 10 fewer opportunities per game (16.3) on his current six-game span making his production all the more impressive.

“That’s pretty darn productive,” said Thomas of Spiller’s figures. “We could be talking about maybe over 200 yards if he gets the ball a little bit more. So to be that productive with a limited amount of carries is impressive, and we know the story of how they work things out with Fred Jackson also being back there. But I’ve always said that this guy at any time can snap one off and go 60 or 70 yards a couple of times a game. I think everybody is starting to realize the speed that he has to get to the outside and turn it up field and get a lot of yards.”

When Thomas served as the engine of the Bills no huddle offense they ran a lot more than perhaps outside observers perceived.

“At times we’d run the no huddle and just run the football,” said Thomas. “That’s where the carries started to added up. There’s a difference now. This league is more of a passing league now than a running league when I was playing.”

Thomas has maintained steady contact with Spiller via text since the Clemson product arrived in Buffalo.

“On the phone he’ll send me a text message and encourage me and tell me to keep my head up. He sent me one yesterday telling me to keep working and keep fighting,” said Spiller. “That’s great to come from a Hall of Famer like him.”

“I just know what type of player he can be,” said Thomas. “Obviously he can run the ball, but he can catch the ball also. So I’ve just been encouraging him to keep working hard and everything will work out for him.”

Head coach Chan Gailey said last week that moving forward Spiller would get most of the work, and he plans to continue on that course this week.

“I still C.J. getting the majority of the plays. I don’t see anything changing our mind in the immediate future about that. I see C.J. getting the majority of the plays,” said Gailey. “I think you look at 60-40, 65-35, I think that’s what you’re looking at right now playing time. Now how the carries go depends on the game. I don’t see there being a huge disparity in the play time.”

Against Jacksonville’s 29th ranked run defense the odds are good that Spiller’s streak will reach seven games. Opponents are averaging 136 yards per game on the ground against the Jaguars. For Spiller, however, the individual statistics have never been a top priority.

“I’ve seen that stat,” Spiller said of his six-game streak. “Somebody put it on my Twitter account, but my main thing right now is to win. Maybe if the record was different maybe it’d be in the back of my head. But right now I’m just trying to find a way to help us win to get over that edge so we can just experience what it’s like to be in the playoffs.”