ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — C.J. Spiller refuses to let a season-opening dud get in the way of his pursuit to establish himself as one of the NFL's elite.
So long as he keeps his hands on the ball and frustrations in check, the Buffalo Bills running back sees no reason for concern.
"There's no need to panic," he said after practice Wednesday. "The main thing for me is I can't get frustrated. I just have to keep a smile on my face, good or bad play, and move on. I think Sunday I showed a bad example of too much frustration in letting them dictate how I play."
Spiller's emotions spilled over in a 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots.
He was knocked off his game from the start, losing a fumble on the second play from scrimmage. It got worse two possessions later. Spiller acknowledged he briefly pulled himself off the field out of anger for being limited to an 8-yard run after getting tackled in the open by safety Steve Gregory.
"I kind of got frustrated right there in that moment, because I feel I should win that battle every time," Spiller said.
Add it up and the Bills most dynamic threat finished with pedestrian numbers: 17 carries for 41 yards and five catches for 14 yards. It was a sluggish start for a player who spent much of the offseason believing he was capable of building off a breakout season last year, when he finished second in the NFL in averaging just over 6 yards per carry.
Perhaps, Spiller suggested, he was expecting too much of himself too soon.
"I just tried to make too many plays where I was forcing it," he said. "I was looking for that big play each time, and it hurt us. And it hurt me."
He also had some personal baggage to contend with. Spiller is still coming to grips with the lingering emotions that came after his step-grandfather shot and killed two people before killing himself in Florida three weeks ago.
"There was a lot going through my brain," Spiller acknowledged. "But I'm not going to use that as an excuse. And I can't use that as a crutch throughout the season. If I play bad, I'm going to man up and say I played bad."