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THE NUMBERS SUPPORT RELIANCE ON PASSING GAME

The Buffalo Bills rank 13th in passing yards per game and 25th in yards per rushing attempt through three games.

Statistics, in this case, don't lie.

Coach Wade Phillips acknowledged Wednesday he thinks his offense will be more effective passing than rushing this season.

"I think we're going to be more of a passing team this year," Phillips said. "I think we're going to be able to move the ball through the air efficiently. With the players we have this year, that's where we're going. . . . I think everybody can see that we're stronger throwing the ball, and I think we're stronger at this point certainly than where we were last year.

"I think we have to run more running plays off the passing game, rather than vice versa."

Phillips said he did not intend to abandon the run. Indeed, that's highly unlikely with balance-oriented coordinator Joe Pendry calling the plays.

"You want a nice mix," Phillips said. "But our strength seems to be in the passing game, because we can go down field and make big plays. But we still run the football. We've run it more than Indianapolis in their three games."

The Bills have run 92 times and passed 100 (counting sacks) this year. But that includes 15 scrambles by Rob Johnson. So the breakdown really is 77 runs and 115 passes.

Factoring in Peyton Manning's scrambles, the Colts have run 69 times and called 130 pass plays.

The Bills had the most rushing attempts in the NFL in '98 and the second-most attempts in '99.
Ted Washington and Pizza Hut are sponsoring a contest to "Become a Bills Insider."

Boys and girls ages 8-17 are invited to write a short essay about why they want to be an "insider," and more than 100 winners will be chosen in November. Those winners will receive two tickets to a Bills game this season, and they will join Washington at a private pizza party at the stadium and get a tour of the Bills' training complex.

As part of the promotion, Pizza Hut is making a $15,000 donation to the Ted Washington Foundation, which benefits numerous Western New York youth groups and charities. Complete details can be found at 110 Pizza Hut locations in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Elmira and Watertown, and at www.tedwashington.com.

Washington purchases more than 30 tickets to each home game and gives them to area youths. His Internet site features an online book club that promotes reading, as well as a kids club, Ted's Troop.
Five Bills are listed as questionable for Sunday, but all are expected to play. They are linebackers Sam Rogers (shoulder) and John Holecek (ankle), guard Joe Panos (foot), defensive tackle Shawn Price (knee) and quarterback Doug Flutie (groin).

Colts backup running back Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar is doubtful with a sore knee.
Now that Flutie is healthy and back working as No. 2 QB, Phillips was asked if he might throw him into the action for a series or two as a change of pace. Phillips obviously wasn't about to divulge any plans, but it didn't sound likely.

"We have to play that by ear," Phillips said. "I think he's a guy who can come in and be a sparkplug for you. But I'm awfully happy with how our quarterback's doing. I think he's one of the highest rated quarterbacks and playing real well for us. I don't think you want to endanger that either."
The Colts have been running a no-huddle offense on occasion. Either Phillips is convinced they won't use it or he's anxious to see them try. "I think they'll have a hard time going no-huddle in our stadium," he said. "They might try it, but it's not a good idea to come in here and do it in my opinion. . . . If you're the old Bills, where they did it all the time and had signals for everything, that's different. . . . I would be surprised if they do that."

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