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ATLANTA 24, BUFFALO 16

Vick Has Stand-Up Game

September 26, 2005|From Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Hindered by a hamstring injury, Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick concentrated on developing a pocket-passer mentality and led the Falcons to a 24-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

"I learned a lot this week," Vick said. "This is a big game for me, and I think it's going to help me in the long run."

Vick had his share of big runs, finishing with 64 yards in nine carries, including a 27-yarder that left three defenders diving for air. He also showed patience and resilience in taking a couple of big hits from a blitzing defense a week after being hurt at the end of a 21-18 loss at Seattle.

Against the Bills, Vick ended up completing 15 of 27 passes for 167 yards -- his most in seven starts. Two of his passes went for touchdowns, and two were intercepted as Atlanta (2-1) ended a four-game road losing streak dating to last season.

Vick's performance didn't surprise Falcon Coach Jim Mora.

"Now I don't know if I saw a different kind of quarterback, because when it got right down to it, he still was able to make plays running," Mora said. "But he did make some key plays with his arm.

On the ground, the Falcons' Warrick Dunn, with 97 yards rushing, and T.J. Duckett, with 75 yards rushing and a touchdown, picked up the slack. The Falcons' banged-up defense limited the Bills (1-2) to 208 yards.

The Bills' defense might have sustained a big blow when linebacker Takeo Spikes hurt his right Achilles' tendon in the second quarter and did not return.

Bill Coach Mike Mularkey wouldn't speculate on the severity of Spikes' injury, saying that more will be known after further tests. Buffalo's defense uncharacteristically gave up 236 yards rushing -- the most since giving up 270 yards against Miami, Dec. 1, 2002.

Buffalo's offense settled for two field goals and a touchdown in three trips inside Atlanta's 20-yard line.

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