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CAMPBELL SEES SPIKE IN TDS

After catching a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Bledsoe in the third quarter Sunday, tight end Mark Campbell joked that his end zone celebration needs a little work.

"I wasn't happy with my spike," Campbell said. "I think I rushed it."

Campbell's spiking skills might be a little rusty because he hasn't seen much of the end zone since joining the Buffalo Bills last year.

But scoring touchdowns is becoming a habit for Campbell, whose TD catch during the Bills' 20-13 win over Miami was his second in as many games.

"It's a good habit to have, huh?" said Campbell, who caught just one touchdown last season and had just five in his previous five years in the NFL. "It feels good to know you're a part of the offense."

That wasn't the case last season. Although Campbell finished with 34 catches for 339 yards, he was shut out in three games and limited to one reception four times.

But if Sunday's game is any indication, Campbell's role in the offense is beginning to expand. His four catches against the Dolphins equaled his total in the Bills' previous four games.

"I want to get the ball," Campbell said. "I want the coaches to know that in situations, they can throw to me and I'll be dependable for them."

Campbell is emerging as a go-to receiver for Bledsoe near the goal line. Both of Campbell's scores occurred from within the red zone.

At 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, he is an inviting target. He can use his size against smaller defensive backs by positioning his body between them and the ball.

Campbell also has good quickness for a big man, runs solid routes and has reliable hands.

"Hopefully, when we go down there, I want to be known as the guy who they can throw it to in the red zone," he said. "As long as they keep putting plays out there for me, I'll keep making plays."

The Bills have a lot of confidence in Campbell's play-making ability. And with wide receivers Eric Moulds and Lee Evans stretching defenses on the outside, Campbell should become even more dangerous on inside routes down the seams of opposing secondaries.

"Anytime you have speed on the outside it's going to help the guys on the inside," said coach Mike Mularkey, a former NFL tight end. "Campbell has a nice feel for running routes and getting open. He does a good job in that area."

In the Bills' offense, tight ends are more than receivers. Campbell is an exceptional run blocker. He understands blocking angles and works hard at keeping defenders in front of him and finishing his blocks.

He also does a good job in pass protection. His work helped the Bills hold Dolphins pass-rushing specialist Jason Taylor without a tackle or a sack Sunday.

"He's been productive," Mularkey said of Campbell. "When we call his number he's doing the things we ask him to do. He's just a reliable, no-nonsense type of player. He doesn't get a lot of limelight, but he makes plays when he's asked to."

It took running back Willis McGahee five games to post his first 100-yard performance. O.J. Simpson (third game in 1969), Antowain Smith (fourth game in 1997) and Greg Bell (fifth game in 1984) are the only other Bills backs to hit the century mark as quickly at the start of their career.

Dolphins running back Sammy Morris finished 9 yards shy of becoming the second former Bill to rush for 100 yards against his former team. Smith did it twice while playing for the New England Patriots. Three players (Keith Lincoln, Mike Pruitt and Larry Kinnebrew) had 100-yard games against the Bills before playing in Buffalo.

Bledsoe made his 37th straight start Sunday, the longest streak by a Bills quarterback since Jim Kelly started 46 in a row from 1992 to '94. . . . Sunday was linebacker Takeo Spikes' 100th game (all starts) in the NFL.
e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com