Sunday, November 10, 2013

Steelers contain Bills' run game from outside in


Touting a top-10 run game heading into Pittsburgh, the Buffalo Bills were hoping to lean heavily on their backfield duo until their quarterback could get his legs back under him. Unfortunately, the Steelers were ready for it.

Despite facing one of the most-gouged run defenses in the league Sunday, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller failed to eclipse the century mark in combined rushing yards in a loss.

Pittsburgh's defense shut down the perimeter running lanes and forced the two to pound the ball in between the tackles for most of the game, which yielded short gains and lots of third down passes.

"I mean it’s always been difficult to run the ball against them," coach Doug Marrone said, via "I thought we had some opportunities and we missed some holes early on. I thought we tried to bounce too many things outside which is always difficult to do against this defense.

"You have to pretty much run downhill and make a lot of yards after contact to be successful."

That didn't happen much at all Sunday, particularly for Spiller. The third-year back attempted the majority of the outside runs and had only 23 yards on eight carries, the longest of which was a seven-yard gain. Jackson, who did most of the heavy lifting on the inside, did average 4.6 yards per carry but wasn't able to break off a run longer than 11 yards in his 12 attempts.

"They just did a great job. You have to give them credit," Spiller said after the game. "They came in with a game plan to stop the run, and they did a good job with that."

The tandem's job doesn't get any easier this coming week, as they now will face Rex Ryan's top-ranked run defense. Gang Green held the two to just 81 total rushing yards in their Week 3 meeting and kept them out of the end zone. 

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