MIAMI — The Miami Dolphins kept chasing Michael Vick and finally stopped the Atlanta Falcons with a foot to spare.
Miami made two goal-line stands, stuffing Bob Christian on fourth down from the one-foot line with 47 seconds left, and survived a dazzling but erratic performance by Vick to win, 21-14, Sunday.
The result clinched a playoff berth for Miami, eliminated Atlanta and gave Tampa Bay the final NFC wild-card spot.
But most of the talk in the Dolphin locker room focused on Vick, who threw for 214 yards and ran for 63 in less than two quarters.
"He's a freak of nature," cornerback Sam Madison said. "It's hard to contain a guy of his caliber."
The Dolphins forced four turnovers, including Brock Marion's 26-yard interception return for a touchdown. They also made four sacks, knocked quarterback Chris Chandler out of the game in the second quarter and then hung on against the scrambling Vick, who threw for a score but also committed three turnovers.
"That's what you get with a young quarterback," Atlanta Coach Dan Reeves said. "He's got unbelievable talent, but he's going to do some things like turn the ball over."
Miami's Jay Fiedler threw two touchdown passes, both in the final 1:02 of the first half.
The Dolphins (10-5) broke a two-game losing streak and became the only NFL team to make the playoffs each of the past five years. They could win the AFC East next Sunday if they beat Buffalo and New England loses to Carolina.
"We're going to the playoffs," linebacker Zach Thomas said, "but we've got to get to playing better."
Atlanta (7-8) lost for the fourth time in five games. The Falcons were all but eliminated from playoff contention when Tampa Bay beat Baltimore on Saturday night.
But with Vick emerging, the Falcons' three-year playoff drought since losing the 1999 Super Bowl might soon be over.
He drove the Falcons 76 yards in the final 5:22, and they had a first down at the four. But Christian was stopped for no gain on third down, and again on fourth down.
"I knew they knew it was coming," Christian said. "It was like a wall of bodies. Something big hit me."