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C.J. Spiller insists he's a capable goal-line back

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller claimed Sunday his injured shoulder wasn't a factor on that goal-line fumble right before halftime against the New England Patriots.

Ryan Fitzpatrick took a shotgun snap from the 4-yard line and handed off to Spiller for a run up the middle. Spiller was swarmed. Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork recovered the ball, and the Patriots avoided heading up the Ralph Wilson Stadium tunnel down by two touchdowns.

Spiller, a slithery back more than a bruiser, was asked about his goal-line effectiveness today at One Bills Drive. In his answer, he indicated his shoulder might have been an issue after all.

"I'm 205. I can get it in there," Spiller said. "It ain't like I never done it before.

"I had a goal-line run against Kansas City, so it's not about the right size or trying to bulldoze a 350-pound guy. It's all about getting your pads low. That's one thing I didn't do. I had my pads high.

"They just got me on that one. I've just got to do a better job of running behind my pads."

When a running back drops his pads, he's making an effort to lower his center of gravity and charge forth with his helmet and shoulders leading the way. Perhaps that shoulder injury was on Spiller's mind and kept him from pounding as hard as he should've.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Spiller took himself out of the game after a 14-yard run. He went to the sideline, where he briskly paced back and forth, waving his arm around in apparent discomfort.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |