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Fred Jackson's best game in a year drives Bills past Jaguars

By Tim Graham

Earlier in the week, Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey declared C.J. Spiller would be his starting running back and get about 60 percent of the carries.

But it was Fred Jackson who propelled the Bills' offense in a 34-18 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on a rainy, windy afternoon in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Jackson plowed forth 25 times for 109 yards. He took 54 percent of the carries and posted his first 100-yard rushing game since Nov. 13, 2011, against the Dallas Cowboys.

"It was something I wanted to do personally," Jackson said. "I'm just going to continue to try and make plays when I get out there, no matter what the workload is. I feel like I can make a play when I get out there."

The performance was a relief for Jackson, who has been hindered this season by a knee injury and a concussion. He had rushed for over 53 yards just twice this year, and his season-high was 80 yards three weeks ago against the New England Patriots.

That's not what was expected after a phenomenal 2010 campaign that ended prematurely because of a broken leg.

"For me to get back out there and established, it's a long time coming," Jackson said. "It's a big lift off my shoulders, and hopefully I can keep building from here."

Spiller was ineffective for much of the game. He ran for just 32 yards on his first 12 carries.

Then Spiller's 13th attempt went 44 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Brad Smith added 28 rushing yards on a pair of Wildcat plays, and Ryan Fitzpatrick sneaked in for a touchdown.

The Bills ran for a season-high 232 yards. Fitzpatrick threw for only 112 yards.

"We feel like our best players are in the running back room," Jackson said. "If we continue to do this, if we go out and make plays, it's going to take a lot of pressure off our offense and allow us to make big plays down the field as well."

Gailey said the weather impacted the way he used Jackson and Spiller.

"You'd like for C.J. to be on a fast track," Gailey said. "But he proved with that one run that sometimes it doesn't matter.

"But when you're in a physical, downhill game, that's more Fred's game."

Jackson and Spiller both started this afternoon because the Bills' lined up with both in the backfield on their first offensive play.

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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 |