|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
After Fred Jackson was placed on injured reserve, the starting running back spot was placed in the hands of C.J. Spiller. While losing Jackson was a devastating blow, Spiller is doing his best to fill the void.
Jackson was on pace for his best season as a pro by far before breaking a bone in his leg against Miami in Week 11. Through the first 10 weeks of the season, Jackson led the NFL in rushing yards, averaging just under 102 yards per game. He was also getting it done in the passing game, finishing his season with 442 receiving yards.
It was obvious that Jackson’s absence would hurt Buffalo’s offense, but Spiller is trying to do his best Jackson imitation.
Taken with the ninth overall selection in the 2010 draft, some were ready to label Spiller a bust after a rookie year in which he never surpassed 35 yards on the ground in a single game. With just one offensive touchdown during his rookie campaign, Buffalo fans were justifiably skeptical of how Spiller would fill in for Jackson this year.
The naysayers have been momentarily silenced as Spiller has been much more productive this season. In the Bills’ past two games he has rushed for 202 yards, just 81 shy of his total all of last year. Spiller also added 103 receiving yards in those games and three touchdowns.
His first career 100-yard rushing performance helped Buffalo snap a seven-game losing streak against Denver. Stopping Spiller will be key for New England’s defense on Sunday.
While Buffalo fans are not ready to send Jackson packing, they can now rest easy knowing Spiller can step in when needed.