C.J. Spiller had an off day in the Buffalo Bills home opener vs. the New England Patriots. He gained only 41 yards on 17 carries. It was a disappointment for a guy who averaged 6.0 yards a carry last season for the Bills. Spiller had the kind of breakout season last year that makes you expect big things from him every time out. He racked up over 1,700 yards of total offense and reached the end zone eight times. He is the type of playmaker that the Bills have been looking for since Thurman Thomas was the running back.
Spiller says that he fell into old, bad habits last Sunday and was trying to do too much. That’s all well and good that he thinks that he knows why he struggled, but he needs to make sure he corrects his mistakes. His excuse did make sense, though. Early in his career, Spiller danced too much and was often stopped behind the line trying to make things happen. He’d go backwards at times and lose chunks of yards at a time, putting the offense in position to have to gain the yards back to get a first down. That’s exactly the situation that you don’t want to be in with a rookie quarterback.
Many were ready to call Spiller a bust before he broke out in 2012. It was as if a switch was turned on at some point last season, though, and somehow it was turned back off before this season began. If the Bills are going to succeed and if E.J. Manuel is going to transition into a franchise-type QB, then Spiller is going to need to make sure that the switch is turned back on, and he needs to make sure of it fast.