KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Running back Fred Jackson #22 of the Buffalo Bills rushes up field against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter on September 11, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Bills beat the Chiefs 41-7.(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
For each game that the Buffalo Bills win during the 2011 NFL regular season, Buffalo Rumblings will be handing out a proverbial game ball to one player or coach that made the biggest difference in the game. For his 20-carry, 112-yard effort in a 41-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1, this week's recipient is running back Fred Jackson.
Ryan Fitzpatrick got a lot of press for going into Week 1 as a starter for the first time in his career, but the same was true of Jackson - if we discount his Week 1 start in 2009 while Marshawn Lynch served a suspension, that is. Questions arose during the pre-season about whether or not Jackson was the team's true workhorse back, but he put those concerns to rest on Sunday with his big performance.
Buffalo's offense was so productive because they were balanced. That balance wouldn't have existed if Jackson wasn't on his game - but he was able to cut, slash and grind through Kansas City's defense to the tune of 5.6 yards per carry. As good as the rest of the offense was in this game, Jackson provided the rhythm necessary for that overall success.
Therefore, our Week 1 game ball goes to Jackson, who looked a lot like the best player on the field in Kansas City.