It wasn't a pretty victory, but the Buffalo Bills will take it.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller ran the ball nearly 40 times and picked up more than 180 yards on the ground in the Bills' 34-18 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Bills improve to 5-7 on the season and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The win was their third home victory this season.
Here is this week's Buffalo Bills report card:
GRADING THE UNITS
OFFENSE - A-
The Bills get a good grade on offense, but it's not like they were going up against one of the NFL's best defensive units.
Regardless, the offense played well. The passing game was shaky, but the Bills didn't need to throw the ball. They ran the ball well enough to win today.
As a team, the Bills ran for 232 yards Sunday. Fred Jackson rushed for 109 yards, C.J. Spiller ran for 77 yards and Brad Smith picked up 28 on the ground, including 17 yards on a successful (yes, successful!) wildcat play call.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a solid game. He did throw an interception, but he settled down after that. He tossed two touchdown passes and rushed for 18 yards and a touchdown.
Stat of the game: The Bills had the ball for more than 35 minutes. When that happens, you will (or should) win football games.
DEFENSE - B
The defense had its moments in this game. While there were some bad penalties (I'm looking at you, Ron Brooks), the Bills sacked Jaguars QB Chad Henne four times and limited Jacksonville to 50 yards rushing.
Alex Carrington had a nice game, with 1.5 sacks and a tipped pass. Mario Williams had a sack, giving him 9.5 on the season. Jairus Byrd added an interception late in the fourth quarter to seal the game for Buffalo.
This unit is getting better. Yes, this game was against a lesser opponent. But you want your team to play well in these games. The defense was solid in this one.
SPECIAL TEAMS - A-
The special teams was going to receive an "A" today until Justin Rogers fumbled a punt and the Jaguars took over on the Buffalo 5-yard-line. That wasn't a smart play by Rogers and the Jaguars made the Bills pay for it.
But overall, the special teams unit played well. Marcus Easley had a 55-yard kickoff return and Brad Smith had a 38-yard kickoff return. Shawn Powell had a decent day and Rian Lindell kicked two field goals, including a 50-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
COACHING - C+
Chan Gailey's play calling was still questionable, but he did make one smart decision this week: He decided to run the football. A lot.
Jackson picked up more than 100 yards rushing and Spiller's 44-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach. Both running backs should touch the ball 15 to 20 times a game every week. If Gailey fits that into his game plan, the Bills can be successful. And Gailey will get patted on the back.
But that's a big "if." We have seen a few of these games before. Spiller and Jackson put up big yards and get a decent amount of touches only to come out the next week -- or another week -- and have a minimal impact on the game. Gailey needs to be consistent. Fitzpatrick can't win games. You need the running backs to be a key part of the offense, as they were Sunday. Keep it that way.
Fred Jackson and Alex Carrington. Fred Jackson rushed for 109 yards on 25 carries and had two catches for 10 yards. He didn't score a touchdown, but he picked up yardage and put the Bills in a position to score. He was a key part of the offense. Hopefully, Chan Gailey makes sure he gets 15 or 20 touches a game going forward.
Carrington also deserves recognition. He had 1.5 sacks and a pass defended. He made an impact. Other members of the defensive line had good games (Mario Williams included) but Carrington stood out. He had a great game.
Ron Brooks/Justin Rogers. Both are reserve defensive backs and both might not be members of the Buffalo Bills next season. Rogers has been burned by opposing receivers this season and his fumbled punt Sunday was a stupid play. Let the punt go. There's no reason to field the punt that deep in your own end.
Brooks was penalized for illegal contact and was slapped with a personal foul after his hit to Cecil Shorts' head. In the NFL, you need to be smart. You need to play smart. Dumb penalties will cost you.
At 1 p.m. Sunday, the Bills host St. Louis. There are thousands of tickets left for the game, so another blackout is possible.