Fred Jackson has been the unsung hero for the Buffalo Bills pretty much since he came into town as in undrafted free agent in 2006. He was out of little-known Coe College and had played two seasons with the Sioux City Bandits of the indoor leagues (yes, that’s plural) and then a year with the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe before getting his first chance in the NFL. He’s been making the most of it ever since.
The Bills couldn’t find an inch on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins‘ defense. They were down a point with around two minutes left. Mario Williams had just forced a fumble and Kyle Williams recovered deep in Miami territory. They were probably already in Dan Carpenter‘s range for a game-leading field goal, but would have given the Dolphins the ball back with about a minute and a half needing only a field goal of their own.
Jackson fought hard for six yards on the first two plays and on third-and-four, he got the call again. Instead of just getting what he could and letting the field goal unit take care of business, Jackson fought through tackles and gained 10 yards, giving the Bills three more plays to burn the clock. In the end, the extra plays were huge as the Dolphins had to end the game on a long Hail Mary pass rather than a long field goal attempt.
The truth is that Jackson has been doing it since he got to Buffalo. He’s amassed 4,611 yards and scored 24 rushing TDs in his eight seasons. He’s also added 234 catches for 1,967 yards and five TDs. That’s 6,578 yards from scrimmage in total for a guy who couldn’t get his first NFL job until three years after college. It’s a pretty impressive resume that Fred has built up in Buffalo.
At 32, Jackson shows no signs of slowing down either. It helps that he has C.J. Spiller ahead of him on the depth chart when he’s healthy, and that he has a reliable guy behind him in Tashard Choice.
It’s rare that running backs produce in the NFL past the age of 30, but Jackson looks like a guy that can go for a few more years. Maybe the early-career activity is helping Jackson now. Maybe it’s just that it took so much for him to earn his spot that he’s not about to give it up so easily.