|Bills RB Fred Jackson is helped off the field during Sunday's game against New England. Jackson suffered a concussion and will not be in the lineup Thursday when the Bills play Miami. (US Presswire)|
Several teams lost star players to concussions in Week 10, and the Buffalo Bills were no exception.
RB Fred Jackson suffered a concussion late in Sunday's 37-31 loss to New England and will miss Thursday night's prime time game against Miami. Coach Chan Gailey updated Jackson's status Monday afternoon.
“Tests this morning were not as good as we had hoped and he had hoped so he won't play this week,” Gailey said.
Jackson suffered the injury with one minute remaining in the game after receiving an elbow to the head from Patriots LB Brandon Spikes. It was just the latest of several questionable hits from Spikes, who earlier in the game leveled QB Ryan Fitzpatrick with a helmet-to-helmet hit. Fitzpatrick had some choice words for Spikes after that play (which earned Spikes a 15-yard personal foul penalty) and called him a “punk” after the game.
“It's very difficult,” RB C.J. Spiller said of losing Jackson. “He's a playmaker. But more important, he's a great friend and you hate to see that happen.”
The bulk of the load will fall on Spiller's shoulders. The third-year pro has been explosive every time he has had the ball in his hands, with some clamoring for him to get more touches in the ground game. Spiller has an average of 7.28 yards per carry, the second-highest total among players with at least 85 carries through nine games in NFL history (behind only Miami RB Mercury Morris' 7.32 average in 1973). Spiller had only nine rushes in Sunday's loss to New England (averaging 7.8 yards per attempt) but is sure to see that number increase against Miami.
Both Spiller and Gailey have no doubt that the RB can handled an increased workload.
“This is familiar territory for me,” Spiller said, who received more carries late last year when Jackson was injured. “I'm not worried how many times I'm going to touch it. From here on out, I'm just worried about wins. Everybody's concerned about, 'Can he touch it 25 times?' At the end of the day, if I do that and we lose, that means nothing. I'm just trying to help my team win.”
“He did it last year, he can do that,” Gailey said. “That's not an issue. If he needs to run it 20 to 25 times for us to win, 30 times a game for us to win, that's what we'll do. We're not afraid to do that; we don't think he's a fragile player or anything like that. We think he's a strong player that can go carry it as many times as we need him to carry it to win.”