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C.J. Spiller logs eight touches, fewest in two months

By Tim Graham

On a day when eight Pro Football Hall of Fame running backs appeared in The Buffalo News to recommend C.J. Spiller get the ball more, Spiller had his fewest touches in two months.

Spiller, one of the NFL's most dangerous playmakers, touched the ball eight times -- seven rushing attempts and a reception on the only pass thrown to him -- in the Buffalo Bills' 15-12 loss to the St. Louis Rams this afternoon in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Fred Jackson had nine carries and five receptions before a knee injury ended his day with 5:26 to play.

Even with Jackson missing 35 percent of the fourth quarter, Spiller touched the ball once over the last 22 minutes. With the season on the line, no less.

"I really can't control how many times I touch the ball, guys," Spiller told reporters after the game. "I keep saying it over and over. I don't know what you want me to say."

All-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith told me Saturday: "If I were him, I'd be saying 'Give me the ball more.' "

Spiller, however, remained a good soldier in the Bills' locker room.

"Of course, I want to touch the ball more," Spiller said. "There ain't no need for me to sit around, mope and groan and do all that stuff because that's high school. That's childish. That's what I'm not all about.

"Is the frustration there? Yeah. Deep down inside as a competitor, yeah, it's there. But there's nothing I can do about it. So I'm not going to sit around, pout and be a little baby or a little girl or something."

In the first half, Spiller had four carries for 10 yards and one catch for 15 yards.

He opened the second half with flair, gaining 13 yards on each of his first two carries of the Bills' opening drive, which ended with their lone touchdown of the game. Spiller didn't get the ball again until the 9:05 mark of the fourth quarter.

And that was all.

"He had two good runs on that first drive, and he gets winded and comes out," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "We keep Fred in there, and it worked out the next couple carries we got behind the sticks on the runs we called.

"It wasn't happening there after the first drive of the second half. We were trying to run the football, and when it's Fred's turn it's Fred's turn to be in there. We're trying to keep them both fresh."

Spiller hadn't had fewer touches since seven carries and zero catches in Week Five against the San Francisco 49ers. He had six touches in Week Three against the Cleveland Browns, but left that game in the first half with a shoulder injury.

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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 |