TORONTO – Lost in the carnage that was a 50-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Rogers Centre was a milestone day for Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller.
A 17-carry, 103-yard day pushed Spiller over 1,000 rushing yards in a season for the first time in his three-year career. Spiller surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in just 154 carries, the second-fewest number needed to reach the milestone in NFL history, trailing only the 119 Chicago Bears running back Beattie Feathers needed to become the NFL’s first 1,000-yard rusher in 1934.
Spiller, though, didn’t find much satisfaction in the number.
“You get beat like that, there’s nothing you can take away from this game that you can walk away and say you’re proud of,” he said. “Yeah, it’s good to rush for a thousand, but when you get your brains beat in like that, there’s nothing to be happy about.”
Spiller caught three passes, but they went for a total of minus-2 yards.
“We couldn’t get him any screen passes. We couldn’t get him the ball in the open field like we wanted to,” Bills coach Chan Gailey said. “He made some things happen. Then we got so far behind, we just couldn’t stick with the running game the way we wanted to.”
Spiller’s 14-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was his seventh overall touchdown of the season, setting a single-season personal best. Spiller, who now has 1,047 rushing yards, actually saw his rushing average of 6.6 yards per carry go down slightly, to 6.5.
Still, no player in NFL history has ever finished a season with 160 or more carries (Spiller now has 161) with a rushing average of 6.5 or better.
“I tip my hat to the offensive line and the guys that have been doing the downfield blocking,” Spiller said. “I wish it would’ve come in a better form, in a win. That would’ve made this ride a whole lot better. It didn’t. It’s just one of those milestones I can just cross off now.”
Seattle’s defense devoted its attention to Spiller.
“It was our main focus, stopping him,” said Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons.
The Bills dropped to 1-4 in their five regular-season games played in the Rogers Centre. Buffalo has been outscored in those contests, 107-85.
“It’s tough. You can’t come up and criticize these fans for cheering the way that they do or how they view the game,” Bills safety George Wilson said. “You got to give these people something to be excited about and most of those plays came from Seattle.”
Even a halftime performance by PSY, the South Korean rapper whose “Gangnam Style” video is the most viewed in YouTube history, wasn’t enough to fill the stands. The paid attendance was 40,770.
“I don’t think where we played [Sunday] had anything to do with it,” Gailey said. “You play good or you play bad whether it’s home, road or anywhere. The bottom line is you have to play well,” Gailey said.
“I don’t care where you are. If you’re a good football team, you play well. If you’re not a good football team, you don’t play well. ... You would obviously like to play at home, but I said the other day you like to play 16 of them at home, but you can’t. That’s the way it is. You can’t worry about that. That’s not [what] affected us.”
“We looked at it [as] kind of a bowl game situation,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “We’re in kind of a semi-neutral site for us, and the stadium is a gorgeous place – the town is a great town. We tried to have some fun with it. It was cool to hear the [Canadian] anthem. We tried to make the most of it and enjoy the heck out of it. And fortunately, we had a real cool win, too.”
An agreement between the Bills and Rogers Communications to extend the series has already been approved by the NFL, but details have yet to be announced.
Center Eric Wood missed his second straight game for the Bills with a knee injury. Cornerback Leodis McKelvin sat out for the first time this season because of a groin injury, while receiver Donald Jones missed his second game in the past three weeks because of a calf injury.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, cornerback T.J. Heath, defensive tackle Jay Ross and offensive tackle Chris Scott were healthy inactives for the Bills.
Linebacker Arthur Moats (ankle) and receiver Marcus Easley (hamstring) left the game because of injuries Sunday. They did not return to the lineup.
Gailey will provide an update on the injured players today at One Bills Drive.
The Seahawks were without starting cornerback Walter Thurmond because of a hamstring injury.