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C.J. Spiller opens second half of season with his best game

By Tim Graham

The first half of C.J. Spiller's season was disenchanting.

His production disappointed. Injuries were bothersome.

Even so, the respect opponents have for Spiller apparently never waned, not when he gained 155 yards from scrimmage and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers said they "did a great job" containing him today in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

One week after Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone pulled him from the lineup to rest a sprained ankle, Spiller posted season-highs in rushing and receiving yardage. Spiller ran 12 times for 116 yards and caught two passes for 39 yards.

"He's always a tough guy," Flowers said. "You can see every week whenever he's healthy that he can do some things with every touch.

"He's going to get his yards, but we just try to limit his plays, and I think we did a great job of it."

For the first time since Spiller ran for 103 yards in Week Two, he looked like the superstar who could go the distance on any play.

Spiller accounted for three of the Bills' four longest gains. He had carries up the middle for 61 yards and 29 yards and added a catch-and-run for 27 yards on a flare pass.

"It's still not there, but it's definitely very close," Spiller said of his ankle. "Today was very encouraging to me.

"My cutting ability and exploding off it was good, but tomorrow'll be a good day to see how it responds because this is the most work that's got since Week Four."

Spiller's 14 touches were the most since he carried 23 times for 77 yards in a victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week Four.

Spiller has been on the injury report since the week of the Ravens game. First it was a strained quadriceps, then the high ankle sprain.

"He was banged up, and I think he came back explosive today," Bills center Eric Wood said. "It's not really fair to put a player like that, whose game is explosion, out there injured. I thought a week off did a lot for him.

"We know what he can do. He's lost no confidence from us. We knew he was gutting it out week-to-week. We appreciated that. We're not looking at averages, not looking at numbers with him."

The Bills amassed 470 yards against one the NFL's best defenses. They rushed for 241 yards, averaging 6.3 yards a carry. Fred Jackson ran 16 times for 77 yards.

Spiller dismissed any notions about being relived to get back to his game-breaking ways.

"To me, I don't get caught up in the stats," Spiller said. "It's a great day for us to run the ball the way that we did today against a good team. They're 9-0 for a reason.

"But at the end of the day, we lost. That's the only thing that matters."


C.J. Spiller | Doug Marrone | Eric Wood | Fred Jackson
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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 |