By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Sunday, Sep. 19 2004

ATLANTA - Teammate Justin Griffith paid Falcons do-everything quarterback
Michael Vick a glowing compliment Sunday after Vick finished dismantling the
Rams. "My goodness," Griffith said, "he's the most exciting player in
football."

Rams defensive end Leonard Little went a step further, though: "I've never seen
anybody like him," he said. "It's like having the best athlete in the world at
quarterback."

Vick punished the Rams with his rocket arm and his nimble feet, steering
Atlanta to a 34-17 victory at the Georgia Dome. By piling up 109 rushing yards
(on 12 carries) and 179 passing yards (on 14 completions in 19 attempts,
without an interception), Vick's personal production totaled 288 yards. Or
eight more yards than the Rams mustered as a team.

"Boy, he was terrific, really dominating," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "He's
hard to contain. When you get a shot at him, you've just got to make sure you
get him, and that's easier said than done."

Vick's speed and elusiveness are impressive enough. But add his strength - he
carries 215 solid pounds on his 6-foot frame - and the package is complete.

"He's just hard to explain," Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said. "His feet,
man, he's got some real quick ones. And his legs. ... he's a real strong guy,
and he's got a strong will as well."

That was evident in two key sequences:

The Rams trimmed Atlanta's lead to 14-7 by scoring with 1 minute 12 seconds
remaining in the first half. Vick quickly guided the Falcons from their 26-yard
line to the Rams 18, picking up 52 yards himself on three carries. Jay Feely's
35-yard field goal made it 17-7 at the half.

Ten points in a row by the Rams evened it 17-17 late in the third quarter. On
the ensuing possession, Vick led the Falcons on a crisp 11-play, 79-yard march
that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by tailback Warrick Dunn with 12:36 to
go.

"He's a major threat, and we knew that coming into the game," Tinoisamoa said.
"But that's why he's so special, because people know he's going to do things
and you still can't do anything about it. He did his job and allowed them to
succeed."

Tinoisamoa dropped Vick for a 5-yard sack, and Little pressured him into an
intentional-grounding penalty. Otherwise, the Rams could do nothing to slow the
fourth-year pro from Virginia Tech.

Last week Vick threw for 163 yards, but had only 10 rushing yards on six
carries, in the Falcons' season-opening, 21-19 win at San Francisco. Vick
ventured out of the pocket more often Sunday, and the damage he left behind was
considerable.

Vick spread the ball around, hooking up with six receivers. Griffith, the
Atlanta fullback, led with four catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. Vick's
dual-threat presence also freed up the running game. Dunn picked up 43 yards on
14 carries, and his backup, T.J. Duckett, rambled for 52 yards on nine tries.
The Falcons totaled 242 yards on the ground, averaging 6.4 yards on 38
attempts.

"He came out and was Michael Vick, and we couldn't stop him; he's one of a
kind," Rams linebacker Robert Thomas said. "It's frustrating, but there's no
excuse. He's still human. We've just got to put this one behind us and move
on."