Tonawanda News


September 24, 2012

Gailey has offense up and running


Tonawanda News — In an NFL that's trended toward pass-happy offenses, the Bills have become a bit of an exception.

Buffalo's 62 rushing attempts are tied with Miami for sixth most in the NFL, while the Bills are leading the league in averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

The renewed focus on running has caught some players — including receiver Stevie Johnson — by surprise. Johnson, though, is not about to start complaining after Spiller had 123 yards rushing and two scores to spark a 35-17 win over Kansas City last weekend.

"I would be selfish and I would be a fool to say, 'Oh, no, we can keep four wide receivers and keep throwing the ball when running the ball is what's getting us down the field and scoring touchdowns,'" Johnson said. "If we switch to one wide receiver, if it's going to get us touchdowns, I'm ready to be a part of that."

Part of the decision to run has come out of necessity to take the pressure off of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and a thinly experienced group of receivers that lost David Nelson to a season-ending right knee injury in Week 1.

The Bills are better, too, when they're balanced. Dating to the start of last year, Buffalo is 5-0 when Fitzpatrick makes 29 or fewer pass attempts, and 2-11, when he throws more than 30 times.

Another reason is Gailey's preference to run, something he's done throughout his career as an NFL head coach and offensive coordinator. During Gailey's two-year term as the Cowboys' head coach, Emmitt Smith enjoyed his two best rushing seasons over the final nine years of his 15-year career.

As the Denver Broncos' coordinator from 1989-90, Gailey had Bobby Humphrey break 1,100 yards both seasons. In Pittsburgh, Jerome Bettis enjoyed his two best seasons with Gailey running the offense from 1996-97. Then there was Gailey's stint with as the Miami Dolphins coordinator in 2000-01, when Lamar Smith posted 2,107 yards.

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