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C.J. Spiller 'getting into the groove' with 103-yard performance

By Tim Graham

By the way, did you notice C.J. Spiller?

While other Buffalo Bills took the spotlight today, their star running back quietly had a Spilleresque performance in a 24-23 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

A week ago, Spiller looked like a doe-eyed rookie. He fumbled on his second carry to set up an easy New England Patriots touchdown. He averaged 2.4 yards a carry and 2.8 yards a catch.

Against the Panthers, who held old friend Marshawn Lynch to 43 yards on opening day, Spiller produced like a star.

Spiller ran 16 times for 103 yards, averaging a familiar 6.4 yards per carry. He also caught four passes for 26 yards. And he didn't fumble.

"It's just one game," Spiller said, "but it does feel good to start getting back into the groove."

Six of his 20 touches went for first downs, including a 12-yard catch-and-run on the game-winning drive.

Buffalo struggled last week to conjure chunk gains and was the lone team entering Week Two without an offensive play of at least 20 yards. Buffalo had five of them today. Spiller was responsible for two.

"I just had fun," Spiller said. "Last week I was very frustrated, and they just took me out of my game."

Spiller had Buffalo's longest gain, a 46-yard run in the fourth quarter to help set up a field goal. He had runs of 10 yards and 21 yards in the first quarter.

"Just give credit to my offensive line," Spiller said. "They blocked those guys up, and I made up my mind to get back to being patient and take what they're giving me, and on certain plays they were giving us a lot."

Spiller also had a 28-yard run wiped out by a Lee Smith holding penalty in the second quarter.

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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 |