In their 13-6 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 14, the Buffalo Bills imposed their will on Cleveland, running the ball effectively all day and particularly well in the fourth quarter. The Bills' rushing tandem of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, though they only averaged 3.9 yards per carry, combined for 145 rushing yards on 37 carries.
Things were a bit different for the running game in yesterday's 17-14 win over the Miami Dolphins. Jackson and Spiller combined for just 52 rushing yards on 24 carries (that's 2.2 yards per carry), and head coach Chan Gailey was not pleased at all with the team's performance in that department.
"Run game was ugly," Gailey told a reporter who broached the subject cautiously. "You're being nice. It was bad. We made more mental mistakes in the run game today, with the offensive line, than we've made all year. And that's why we were having negative runs."
Though Buffalo started the same group of linemen that they did against Cleveland, Miami stopped Bills runners behind the line of scrimmage four times on Sunday; three of those negative rushes were turned in by Spiller. Of their 24 rushing attempts, Spiller and Jackson were able to gain four or more yards on just six carries (four of them from Jackson). That's a far cry from their efforts against Cleveland, when the Bills had just one negative play (a Jackson run) and turned in a whopping 18 carries of four or more yards (13 from Jackson).
"We've got to get that straightened out and give ourselves a chance to run the ball better," Gailey said. "You can't go throw it as many times as we had to today in certain situations and win on a consistent basis. You've got to be able to run the ball somewhat."