Before the Bills lost to the Texans earlier today, C.J. Spiller had 523 rushing yards on 72 attempts. That’s good for an average of 7.26 yards per carry.
I went to Pro Football Reference and asked its play index to search for NFL seasons in which a player had at least 50 rushing attempts AND at least seven yards per attempt since the NFL-AFL merger. It returned 12 results. 11 of those were by quarterbacks like Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham. The ONLY running back listed was C.J. Spiller in 2012.
There have surely been times when a running back reaches those thresholds in the middle of the season, only to see his rushing average regress with more playing time, and Spiller is likely to follow suit. But it’s very rare.
Meanwhile, the Bills have given Fred Jackson 53 carries, for which he’s yielded 197 yards, for a 3.7 average. In Buffalo’s last four games, Spiller has gotten 37 rushing attempts; Jackson has gotten 40.
It’s hard to believe that a professional football team – a multi-million dollar business – would willingly make such a mind-numbing decision as to limit Spiller to nine carries per game, and have him split carries down the middle with Jackson. But I guess that’s a microcosm of the differences between franchises like the New England Patriots and franchises like the Buffalo Bills.
By the way, against Houston, Spiller rushed for 39 yards on six carries, a 6.5 average. Jackson rushed for 21 yards on six carries, a 3.5 average. I can’t make this stuff up…