FOXBORO MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Kyle Anderson #27 of the New England Patriots cannot stop a touchdown run by C. J. Spiller #21 of the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on September 26 2010 in Foxboro Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Typically, when the Buffalo Bills lose a football game, I'd be inclined to give a game ball to an opponent. Or to a particularly bad Bill during said game. This week, however, despite the fact that the Bills lost to the New England Patriots, I'm doling out a game ball to one of our own - a man who played well. That man is rookie running back C.J. Spiller.
I'm still not a fan of the role that the Bills have carved out for the No. 9 overall pick in last April's NFL Draft. For two weeks, Spiller hadn't played himself into a bigger role, having struggled against Miami and Green Bay. Despite a limited number of touches, however, Spiller finally exploded onto the NFL scene on Sunday with 228 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Of those 228 yards, 189 came on five kick returns, with 95 of those on a kick return touchdown in the third quarter to cut New England's lead to 24-23. Having just given up a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half, Spiller's big play was a huge momentum shifter, and allowed the Bills to continue to compete until deep into the fourth quarter.
Spiller's first career touchdown came in the second quarter on a five-yard reception, which at the time gave the Bills a 13-7 lead following a forced turnover. Spiller carried the ball four times for 29 yards, and added three receptions for 10 yards in defeat.
At some point, if Spiller continues to make game-changing plays like he did in New England, his role in Chan Gailey's offense will expand rapidly.