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Reed, Royal diversify passing attack Losman shares the wealth in win

With wide receiver Josh Reed looking like a running back and tight end Robert Royal running deep routes like a wideout, the Buffalo Bills showed there is more to their passing game than J.P. Losman and Lee Evans playing pitch and catch.

Although Evans had another productive afternoon, it was Reed and Royal who provided the biggest plays in the Bills' 21-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Reed had a team-high four catches for 50 yards, including a spectacular 27-yard touchdown. Royal established a career-high 62 yards on three receptions and added another TD.

"When you have other guys other than one man out there making plays, it's just hard to focus on him because the guys that are making plays were going to hurt you," Reed said. "The main thing was to keep the [first down] sticks moving. We felt like we were able to do that."

Reed did more than that on his TD. Catching a short pass over the middle, he saw several Miami defenders converging on him. But despite being hit from every angle, Reed bounced off the attempted tackles and ran through the defense to complete a 27-yard touchdown.

Some teammates called Reed a human pinball machine. Revealing his Cleveland upbringing, Evans said Reed reminded him of a former Browns running back.

"He looked like Kevin Mack running up in there," Evans said.

Such a comparison is not a stretch. Reed was a star running back in high school and showed on his touchdown that he hasn't forgotten how to take a hit and keep running.

"Once I caught it I knew I could get to the sticks, but when I looked up it was wide open," Reed said. "I saw the defenders coming, and I knew I couldn't beat them to the goal line. I just said I'm going to put my head down and get as close as I can. They didn't wrap up, and I just kept my legs pumping and was able to get to the end zone."

Speaking of the end zone, Royal has been living there recently. Sunday was the third game in a row that he scored a touchdown, tying Charley Ferguson (in 1963) for the longest scoring streak for a Bills tight end.

Royal runs well and knows how to find soft spots in the secondary. He took advantage of a breakdown in Miami's coverage, got open deep downfield in the second quarter and Losman hit him for a 33-yard touchdown, the longest catch of Royal's four-year career.

"That ball was sitting in the air for about a half an hour," Royal said. "I was like, 'Come down, come down, come down.' That's the toughest catch when you are wide open, especially when you can't see the quarterback. The ball comes out of mid-air, and you've got to find it and catch it.

"On that particular coverage we practiced on it all week and hoped that we would get that coverage. It just so happened that they played zone and the safety was over a little bit too far. I was able to get open and J.P. let the ball go."

Royal was signed away from the Washington Redskins in free agency because of his prowess as a run blocker. But his career highs of 20 catches and 202 yards show he's not a one-trick pony.

"It's always fun [being involved in the passing game], but obviously when you win the game it's even better," he said. "The coaches saw something in me that a lot of teams didn't see in me earlier, that I can go out there and catch the ball when I need to.

"Of course, I'm going to block all the time, and I don't have a problem with that. There were a couple of plays we called in practice and it worked. It just so happened that [Losman] was able to find me on a couple of passes."

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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