CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02: Fred Jackson #22 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
In case anyone needed further clarification on how important running back Fred Jackson is to the fortunes of the Buffalo Bills: the Cincinnati Bengals solved Jackson in the second half on Sunday. They held the Bills to three points in the second half in coming from behind to win 23-20.
Jackson was his usual stellar self in the first half as the Bills built a 17-3 lead. At the break, Jackson had carried nine times for 48 yards and a touchdown - and though Buffalo's offense had struggled for most of the half, they appeared to be finding some rhythm at the end of the second quarter. Things looked promising.
It was all downhill from there. Playing with a lead for the vast majority of the second half, the Bills couldn't keep Jackson going, as he carried eight times for just 18 yards after the break. Things got particularly difficult operating out of the shotgun; Jackson carried six times for 39 yards out of the gun in the first half, but the Bengals put an end to that, as Jackson carried five times for seven yards out of the gun after intermission.
Jackson finished the day with 22 touches for 98 yards and a touchdown. All things considered, that's a good day. When Cincinnati figured out how to slow him down, however, it meant doom for the rest of Buffalo's offense.