ORCHARD PARK - The blueprint the Buffalo Bills (5-7) used to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium was the one they had written well before the season begun - let Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller run wild on opposing team's defenses.
It worked to a 'T' on Sunday as Jackson ran for 109 yards on 25 carries while Spiller rushed for 77 yards on 14 carries, including a spectacular 44-yard jaunt to paydirt early in the fourth quarter.
Of the two talented running backs, Jackson may have needed his performance the most, as the one-time starter has fought the injury bug again this season.
Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams (94) knocks the ball away from Jacksonville Jaguars’ Chad Henne (7) during the first half of an NFL game on Sunday, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Williams recovered the fumble on the play.
"Well, I mean everyone wants to be on the field," Jackson said. "My job is to just go out there and make plays when I get the opportunity. I felt like coming out here, seeing what type of game it was, we were going to have to run the ball.
"I told C.J. expect the ball a lot today," Jackson continued. "We got the running game going early so there was something I wanted to do personally and I am just going to continue to try and make plays no matter what the workload is. You know I feel like I can make a play when I get out there."
Both backs made plays Sunday, with Spiller providing the explosive plays and Jackson handling the bulk of the carries.
"We feel like we know our best players are in the running back room," Jackson said. "So that's how we want to approach the game. We have to go out and get started early, we feel like if we do that, then it gives us a good opportunity to win football games. If we continue to do this, we make plays, it is going to take a lot pressure off our offense."
The pressure was certainly off quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but that didn't mean that he didn't get involved in the action, as he threw for a pair of touchdowns and added 18 yards and five rushes to the Bills' total of 46 carries and 232 yards.
"This was maybe a bit extreme," Fitzpatrick said. "But for us, as a team, to be successful at home in December, this is what we expected. We expected to be able to feed Fred (Jackson) the rock and to give it to C.J. (Spiller). Have those guys coming in - they are a tough one-two punch as everybody knows, but as we saw today especially. And the defense really stepped up and played great today."
With the rain blowing into the 'Ralph' in all directions, a passing game wasn't really in store for either team, and that definitely factored into the amount of running plays the Bills ran Sunday.
"(The weather) limited us a little bit in terms of maybe not throwing it as much as we wanted to," Fitzpatrick said. "But on a day like today, to have them step up. The offensive line loves a day like this where they know it is going to be a lot on their shoulders. I thought they responded well."
At 5-7, the Bills are still mathematically in the playoff hunt, and with a win as convincing as Sunday's, confidence in the locker room, and the stands, will be on the rise.
"We have a lot of belief in our locker room and we are not in the most ideal situation, but we lose today's game we know we are out," Fitzpatrick said. "We continue to win like we did today and we have some home games coming up. We continue to win these games we are going to have a chance at it and I think everybody in the locker room knows that."