While Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller got less carries against the Arizona Cardinals than his backfield counterpart Fred Jackson, Spiller had more yards and has overtaken the elder statesman as the driving force behind the team's offense. He's putting up numbers the NFL hasn't seen in two generations.
Spiller's big Week 1 has propelled him into the stratosphere in yards per rushing attempt. He finished the game against the New York Jets with over 12 yards per carry and has maintained a blistering 7.55 yards per attempt throughout the season on 60 carries. Only two running backs in NFL history have had more than 60 attempts and maintained a per-rush average better than 7.6 - and the last one was during the first Eisenhower administration.
His pace is nothing new. In 2011, Spiller rushed for 5.2 yards per carry on 107 carries. It's the fifth-highest average in team history behind Jackson's 2011 total (5.5), two seasons from O.J. Simpson, and Wayne Crow in 1962. Simpson only finished above 6.0 yards per attempt once, gaining 2003 yards in 1973.
Spiller is currently tenth in the league with 453 rushing yards despite sitting tied for 24th with 60 carries. He's also eighth in the league in yards from scrimmage, adding 141 receiving yards. At his current pace, Spiller will finish the year with about 1200 rushing yards, another 400 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns in a part-time role.
Jackson, conversely, is struggling while trying to get fully healthy. Against the Cardinals, Jackson ran for the first time without his knee brace but maintained after the game that he still was not 100%. That begs the question - Why isn't Spiller handling the bulk of the load?