Orchard Park (WKBW) Let's get this out of the way. The Bills beat a bad team on Sunday 34-18. Jacksonville came in at 2-and-9 for a reason. The Jaguars ranked 32nd on offense and 31st on defense. It doesn't matter. For fans I'm sure it beat the alternative. Even if no one saw it on local television, and it came in front a ton of empty seats.
An announced crowd of 53, 971 sat through a windy, wet and wild day at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It was the type of day that offensive linemen and running backs love. Fred Jackson loved it.
Despite Chan Gailey saying that it would be C.J. Spiller starting and getting a 60-40 split of snaps.. it was Jackson who carried the load. Jackson rushed for 109 yards on 25 carries. It was his first 100 yard rushing day in over a year. His last came against Dallas on November 11th of last season.
"We got the running game going early so there was something I wanted to do personally and I am just going to continue to try and make plays no matter what the work load is", said Jackson.
C.J. Spiller finished the day with 77 yards on 14 carries and a thrilling 44 yard touchdown on a day the Bills rushed for a total of 232 yards.
Where was this all year?? Where was this type of 1-2 punch in the running game?? This type of balance?
"You would like to, but there were some teams that did not let you do that as much as we would like to", said Head Coach Chan Gailey.
"You cannot just say let's just go do that. You have to have success and you have to have the lead. There are alot of things that go into it", continued Gailey.
Including the weather. Gailey said the wind and rain did impact his plan for the ground game and the use of Jackson and Spiller. "Yeah it does a little bit", said Gailey. "You would like for C.J. to be on a fast track. He proved on that one run that sometimes it does not matter. When you are in a physical, downhill game that is more Fred's game. It is".
The success on the ground took the ball out of Ryan Fitzpatrick's hands. Fitzpatrick finished 9-of-17 on the day for 112 yards, 2 TDs and an interception. He also ran for a score and had only 5 passing attempts in the second half. With the inconsistency in the passing game this year I'm sure many fans hoped this would be the blueprint earlier in the season.
"This is what we expected", said Fitzpatrick. We expected to be able to feed Fred Jackson the rock and give it to C.J. Have those guys coming in - they are a tough one - two punch. Everybody knows, but as we saw today especially.".
The ground game was a big part of what turned out to be a well rounded team win for the Bills. Offense , Defense and Special Teams all played a role on Sunday.
The Defense continued to improve. The Jaguars were without were without RB Maurice Jones Drew and lost back up Rashad Jennings during the game on Sunday, but the Bills were able to take advantage. The Buffalo defense held Jacksonville to only 50 yards rushing and also kept the Jags to a 1 for 10 showing on third down. Chad Henne finished the day 18-of-41 for 208 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
"We just wanted to come out and play fundamental football", said DE Mario Williams. Williams had a strip sack on Henne that he recovered late in the second quarter. It was the first of his career and set up a Buffalo FG.
"You know it was just one of those things where when you get back there, especially with the elements how they were with the rain, it is pretty tough holding onto the ball. So we wanted to rake at the ball every time we had a chance. It was there. I saw it and I just reached out and swiped it away", finished Williams. Williams now has 9.5 sacks on the year.
The focus for the now 5-7 Bills turns to the St. Louis Rams. It also turns to several injuries that were suffered on Sunday. Bills WR Stevie Johnson left the game with a hamstring injury. He said that he hoped to be back next week, but Chan Gailey didn't have an update after the game.
Gailey also didn't have an update on Center Eric Wood or tackle Chris Hairston. Wood left the game with a knee injury and did not return. Hairston suffered an ankle injury and was unable to finish.