Points-per-pass-attempt is one of the best statistics in pro football for separating winners from losers.

It's an umbrella statistic that covers several key areas of the game. First, because a team can't run and pass at the same time, it measures not just the team's passing efficiency, but measures the balance between running and passing.

And second, as a corollary, teams that throw the fewest passes and run the most rank highest on points per pass. The Bears are the current leaders (1.1 points per pass); the Rams were last year's leader (1.0) and this year rank third (.83). The Redskins are .61 (20th); San Francisco is .81 (fourth).

The Redskins exceeded the league average (.66 points per pass) in all but one of their seven victories.

The Redskins-49ers game will turn on points per pass. If the Redskins run more than 40 times, they will be very much in line for a victory. Passing efficiency, as measured by yards per pass attempt, improved in their last two victories. Each yard above the league average figures to be worth 3 1/2 points in the winning margin. In both recent games, Redskins quarterback Jay Schroeder exceeded the league average. The 49ers do not have the league's greatest rush defense.

Computer projection: 49ers by 3. But near one point per pass attempt, the Redskins are winners.