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Colts Play Hardball With Harbaugh, 27-17 : AFC: With Faulk used in a reduced role, passing game does the trick in victory over Bills.

October 17, 1994|From Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Surprise! The Indianapolis Colts' offense is more than merely Marshall Faulk.

Jim Harbaugh threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns and Sean Dawkins caught six passes for 105 yards as the Colts dominated the clock and the Buffalo Bills, 27-17, on Sunday.

Faulk carried 26 times for 64 yards and caught two passes for 22 yards--still 25% of the Colts' offense, but far from the 45% he had provided in the first six games.

"Without a doubt, this is the most multi-dimensional the offense has been," Harbaugh said. "They were determined to stop Marshall, and fortunately we got the passing game going today and it really helped things a lot."

Harbaugh was 18 of 22 before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a bruised throwing hand. On Don Majkowski's first pass, he threw to Floyd Turner for a 19-yard touchdown--the Colts' first fourth-quarter touchdown all year--to make it 24-10 with 8:14 to go.

On the kickoff, Don Beebe ran into teammate Russell Copeland and fumbled. It was recovered for Indianapolis by Ed Toner and the Colts added a field goal to put the game out of reach.

It was the first non-strike victory in Buffalo for the Colts (3-4) since 1980 and only their second win over the Bills (4-3) in their last 10 tries.

The four-time AFC champions have now lost to the Jets, Bears and Colts--the earliest they have lost three games in a season since 1987. After beating Miami last week to move into a tie for first place in the division, they fall to second, tied with the Jets and only a game ahead of New England and Indianapolis.

"No one's invincible in this league," Buffalo defensive end Bruce Smith said. "You have to go out and earn your victories. And today the Indianapolis Colts earned theirs."

In their second game since abandoning their no-huddle offense, the Bills again showed the ability to run a ball-control offense. But the Colts did it even better, running off several long drives to amass a time of possession edge of more than 10 minutes.

Indianapolis punted only twice--in the last minute of the third quarter and again when they were trying to run out the clock. Meanwhile, Harbaugh led the Colts on scoring drives of 10, 17, 15, seven and four plays.

When the Bills pinned them on their own two late in the first quarter, the Colts ran off a 98-yard touchdown drive that ate up 10:25. Harbaugh was seven of seven for 72 yards on the drive, connecting with Turner for a six-yard touchdown pass play to make the score 10-7.

"A lot of people have been down on him about us not throwing the ball, him not being able to throw the ball or whatever. But this game really showed that he can," Faulk said.

"I think that they really concentrated on stopping me and that was their focal point. They just really believed that we couldn't beat them with a passing game. And we did."

Kelly went four of four for 66 yards on the Bills' first possession to set a team record for career passing. He finished 25 of 34 for 286 yards and 27,788 career yards, breaking Joe Ferguson's mark of 27,590.

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