Bills: The running game takes a hit
The Buffalo Bills emerged from their 17-16 win over the Vikings without their two leading running backs. Fred Jackson was lost to a groin injury on the teams final play of the first quarter, C.J. Spiller suffered a fractured collarbone just nine offensive plays later. Jackson’s injury is believed to be less serious than feared, but he’s still expected to miss some time; Spiller has already undergone surgery and been placed on I.R. with the designation for return.
Jackson’s team leading +2.2 run grade ranks tenth in the league and his +2.7 grade as a receiver is sixth-best among RBs. Spiller’s +3.7 grade as a receiver is even better, and his 42.5 Breakaway Percentage, fourth-best among qualifying backs, makes him extremely dangerous regardless of the blocking provided.
In their absence Anthony Dixon performed admirably as the lead back, rushing for 51 yards on 13 carries and catching three passes for 15 yards on his way to a +1.6 overall grade. Despite seeing limited touches, Dixon has forced three missed tackles for a team leading 51.9 Elusive Rating. Dixon, along with Bryce Brown and the newly acquired Phillip Tanner, should ensure that the Bills ground attack is okay; however, they are unlikely to replicate what Spiller and Jackson offer as receivers.