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ATLANTA 41, PITTSBURGH 38 (OT)

Vick sets up Andersen

October 23, 2006|From the Associated Press

ATLANTA — Michael Vick threw a career-high four touchdown passes and produced a long play in overtime Sunday to set up Morten Andersen's 32-yard field goal that gave the Atlanta Falcons a 41-38 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After six lead changes and each team missing chances to break a 38-38 tie in the final minute, the second-oldest player in NFL history won it for Atlanta.

"We learned something about ourselves today," Falcons Coach Jim Mora said. "We can hang with the heavyweight champs."

Pittsburgh lost Ben Roethlisberger, who completed 15 of 20 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, when he was knocked unconscious early in the third quarter on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Chauncey Davis after letting go of a pass.

Roethlisberger remained on the turf for at least five minutes before wobbling to the sideline, then was wheeled to the locker room on the back of a cart. After changing out of his uniform, he watched from the sideline.

The Steelers (2-4) tied the score, 38-38, with 3 minutes 19 seconds remaining when Charlie Batch threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward, who finished with eight receptions for 171 yards and a career-best three touchdowns, including a 70-yard play in which his right shoe fell off.

The Falcons (4-2) won the coin toss for overtime and never let the Steelers have the ball. Vick converted on third and nine by scrambling away from Troy Polamalu and flipping a 26-yard pass to tight end Alge Crumpler.

Five plays later, 46-year-old Andersen came on to make the winning kick, atoning for a 52-yard try that fell just short in the final minute of regulation.

Vick was 18 for 30 for 232 yards and connected with Crumpler on touchdowns of 22, three and 31 yards. Crumpler tied a team record for touchdown catches in a game, and Vick surpassed his personal mark of three scoring passes in a game, also connecting with Michael Jenkins on a 17-yard play.

"Moments like this are the main reason I'm a Mike Vick fan," Mora said. "He does things that no other player in the history of the game at that position has the ability to do."

The Steelers did have a chance in the waning seconds of regulation. Batch delivered a 25-yard pass to Ward, and the Steelers raced up to the Atlanta 33-yard line to down the ball with eight seconds to go. However, receiver Nate Washington flinched slightly before Batch took the snap, a false-start penalty that led to the remaining seconds being run off the clock.

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