With an injury to Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller is taking advantage of the extra playing time by shredding defenses. Through two games, he has rushed 29 times for 292 yards and three touchdowns (which is just one shy of his 2011 total). He has also added five catches for 72 yards.
In other words, Spiller is showcasing that dynamic talent with Jackson out. The knock on Spiller, as unfair as it is, is that he might not be able to handle the duties of being a featured back. As of now, though, he is proving his doubters wrong (going back to last season as well).
For the Browns, stopping Spiller is the key to their success. While quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is certainly capable of making plays, it is obvious that the offense is currently running through Spiller. And for a Browns defense that was beaten up against the Cincinnati Bengals, this is the perfect time to step up.
What is encouraging is that through two games, the Browns’ rush defense is ranked 18th in the league. With an improved defensive line and a younger, faster group of linebackers, the Browns won’t be hopeless in trying to contain Spiller.
Still, the defense does give up yards in bunches, which is something Spiller does better than almost anybody else. In order to even think of a win today, the Browns have to somehow limit Spiller’s yards. Better yet, the Browns’ offense could really do the team a favor and establish a lead to try and take the ball out of Spiller’s hands.
Those scenarios can happen, but the Browns have yet to prove they are capable of doing so. It’s pretty simple: finally stop a dynamic running back today and the Browns will put themselves in a position to win. Let Spiller run wild and it’s going to be a long day in Cleveland with Jim Brown in attendance.