If you ask the Buffalo Bills, Brandon Spikes is a “punk” and a “headhunter.”
He’s certainly proving himself to be a menace in the middle of the Patriots’ defense, especially against the Bills.
In the fourth quarter of his team’s 37-31 win over their AFC East rivals, Spikes tracked down backpedaling QB Ryan Fitzpatrick before drilling him. Although the hit came just as the ball was being thrown, there was helmet-to-helmet contact and Spikes was flagged for roughing the passer.
The helmet-less quarterback got up and directed an explicit phrase toward Spikes that shares the same first letter as Fitzpatrick’s name. An official had to separate the two players as the hit only added to Buffalo’s strong sentiments of New England’s middle linebacker.
“We’re not going to back down from anybody,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think he’s a punk at times and took a cheap shot at (tight end) Scott (Chandler) in the first game, and he was doing a lot of jabbering and talking and hitting out there. Not one of my favorite players. Not high on my list.”
Fitzpatrick is referring to when Spikes decleated Chandler back in Week 4 in a blow that knocked Chandler out of the game with a head injury. The hit was deemed an illegal block, and Spikes was fined $21,000.
The latest hit drew more ire from center Eric Wood, who called Spikes a “headhunter” and added, “I guess he was trying to take Fitz out of the game,” according to the Boston Globe.
Although Spikes didn’t take him out of the game, he did take running back Fred Jackson out later in the fourth quarter with the Bills driving to win the game. A legal shoulder to the helmet sent Jackson crumbling to the turf with Spikes simultaneously causing his third fumble in two games against the Bills this season.
The Bills recovered, but Jackson didn’t. He was replaced by C.J. Spiller for the remainder of the game. He’s been diagnosed with a concussion and won’t be able to come back on a short week to face the Dolphins on Thursday.
Three weeks ago, Jets running back Shonn Greene was the victim of another shoulder-to-helmet shot that forced him to leave the game with a head injury. Greene went to the locker room to be evaluated as the fourth quarter was wrapping up but came back before the start of overtime, where the Patriots came away with a 29-26 win.
Spikes has matched his career high with 61 tackles through nine games, which is second on the team. He also has four forced fumbles to go with a sack, five stuffs and four passes defended.
He’s also racking up a good number of enemies, too. Just like a good middle linebacker should.
Just as long as it’s legal.
Spikes’ fellow former Gator had 1 tackle, 1 sack, 1 QB hit and a fumble recovery in the Patriots’ win.
How about the former Gator receiver’s one-handed touchdown catch against the Cowboys? Cooper’s 2-yard TD snag over former LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne was his first of the year.