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Spiller says he hit a low point Sunday

On Sunday, C.J. Spiller experienced the peaks and valleys of an NFL rookie.

He had his most productive day of the season on offense, rushing for 30 yards on six carries and catching two passes for 54 yards, but it was overshadowed by two lost fumbles that contributed to the Bills' 34-3 loss to the Patriots.

"That was probably my worst game that I ever played," he said. "Putting the ball on the ground three times, losing two of them and putting the team in bad situations. Tough day out there today."

It has been a tough year for Spiller. Expectations were high for the ninth overall pick in this year's draft. Maybe too high for some people.

Spiller revealed he has been the recipient of hate e-mails from those who aren't happy that he hasn't made a bigger impact.

"Yeah, I get a couple," he said. "I always do after a bad game."

Spiller downplayed it, saying the criticism comes with the territory. And besides, no one was harder on Spiller than himself after the game.

"I put my team in bad situations today," he said. "Coming off some good games, I really thought today, especially on special teams, that we could take advantage of them considering what happened the first time we played them. But we just didn't do it."

Spiller was part of a strong running game that helped the Bills get the early lead. He also was featured as a wide receiver and caught a 41-yard pass along the Patriots sideline in the first quarter. But he fumbled at the end of a five-yard run in the third quarter. After a Patriots fourth-quarter field goal, Spiller dropped the kickoff and was tackled at his 15-yard line after an 11-yard return. And his muffed punt with less than two minutes remaining allowed the Patriots to run out the clock.

Spiller said the tricky winds inside Ralph Wilson Stadium made it difficult to field kicks.

"It was tougher than I thought it was going to be," he said. "There were a lot of times I made the fair catch signal, but I didn't catch the ball because of how the wind was carrying it. The one that I dropped, it's no excuse for it. I really thought we had a good return set up. I just put it down. The saying is if it hits your hands you've got to catch it. It touched my fingertips, I just put it down and seen them recover it."

Spiller refused to say his miscues are part of being a rookie. But Sunday's game is one he'll learn from.

"Right now it's just growing pains for me," he said. "But it's all about how you respond. I'll come in [today] ready to go. I'll look at the film, there won't be too much positive stuff to look at from my standpoint, move on to the Jets and get ready for this last game. I'm not throwing in the towel, so it will be interesting how we respond this week. Hopefully we'll go out and respond well."

Rookie wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt had an impressive NFL debut last week. His encore was even better.

The former University at Buffalo and St. Joe's star caught four passes for 74 yards -- both season highs. That's more than double his totals from a week ago (two catches, 35 yards).

"I just wanted to make plays," he said. "If I get a chance to make a play, I try to do it."

Roosevelt added two kickoff returns for 31 yards. He'll likely see even more action next Sunday at the New York Jets as fellow rookie receiver David Nelson will miss the game after suffering a rib injury.

"I just want to do anything to help the team out, making plays at wide receiver or on special teams," Roosevelt said. "You have to stay confident, especially in this league. If you're not confident, you're not going to make plays. So I just stay confident and continue to get better."

Sunday was a rare moment for Western New York as three hometown boys -- Roosevelt, teammate Jon Corto of Orchard Park and Patriots tight end and Amherst native Rob Gronkowski -- shared the same field in an NFL game.

"It was pretty cool seeing local guys from Buffalo going at each other and the Buffalo Bills stadium at the same time," Gronkowski said. "I was focusing on the offense, so I couldn't really tell what he's [Roosevelt] doing but all I know he's a good player. I just met him after the game, he's a cool guy."

Stevie Johnson on becoming the first Bills receiver since Lee Evans in 2008 to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a season:

"Individually, just looking back on the season, it's pretty cool that you can get 1,000 yards," Johnson said. "Any receiver would love to have 1,000. It's a good thing individually, but overall we didn't get the win, so it's not too good for me."

Because of the East coast snowstorm, the Patriots stayed in Rochester on Sunday night. They traveled down the Thruway because the Buffalo hotels were booked due to the World Junior Hockey Championships. Running back Jehuu Caulcrick, center Geoff Hangartner, offensive tackle Ed Wang, defensive tackle Kellen Heard, guard Colin Brown, tight end Mike Caussin and defensive end John McCargo were inactive Bills. Outside linebacker Aaron Maybin played one defensive snap.

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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