Fred Jackson admitted to being a “little sore” following Sunday’s 19-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Jackson played through broken ribs – he confirmed as much to The News after the game – but it didn’t stop him from putting up his first 100-yard rushing day of the season.
Jackson finished with 111 yards on the ground and the only touchdown of the game, a 9-yard run in the second quarter that was classic Fred – all grit and brawn as he carried a defender over the goal line. In the process, he became just the third running back in franchise history to surpass 5,000 career rushing yards, joining Thurman Thomas and O.J. Simpson. Jackson now has 5,067 yards and 27 career rushing touchdowns – tied for fifth most in team history with Travis Henry.
“He just continues to amaze me. The way he goes about his business, I give him credit,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said. “He’s taken some good shots along the year. … Other players that have had what he has, I’m not sure they can go out and perform like that. I give him a lot of credit and I admire him for that. That’s not an easy thing to do to play with that type of injury.”
Playing through pain is what Jackson has done all season. It’s something he prides himself on.
“You want to be a leader on this team?” Jackson said. “One of the best ways to show that you’re with this team is to play hurt. And that’s what I wanted to do – let those guys know that I would be with them. I had the opportunity to come out here and do so and I played pretty well. I’ve got to give those guys credit. The offensive line did a tremendous job. They protected me knowing what I was going through, and we were able to get a win.”
Jackson sat out practice Wednesday, then was limited Thursday in the week leading up to the game.
“A little sore, but that was expected,” he said. “It was worth it, though, to come out here and play,” he said. “We’re all going to be banged up this time of year. I’m no different than anybody else. Just have to go out there and play with them.”
Jackson said the Bills had an inclination as early as the second series of the game they’d be able to run the ball on the Dolphins. And run they did, time and time again. The Bills finished with 51 rushing attempts for 203 yards – the second-most attempts in any game this season (55 vs. Baltimore in Week Four) and tied for the second-most yards (241 vs. Kansas City in Week Nine and 203 against the Ravens).
“It was like blood in the water. Our offensive line was looking forward to getting out there and chomping at the bit.”
With 836 yards on the season, Jackson will need a big game Sunday in the season finale at New England to reach 1,000 yards for the second time in his career. Such individual accolades, however, aren’t front and center in Jackson’s thinking.
“We’ve had some games that have definitely not gone our way that have been hard to swallow. You don’t want that to linger going into the offseason. We don’t have a shot getting into the playoffs, but we still got games that we’ve got to play,” he said. “Those are the little things that we’re looking for on focusing for our team. Miami had a lot to play for coming in – but so did we.”