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  • Vick is too slick for Rams

    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

    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

    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

    "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

    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

    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

    "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

Related Topics


  • RamDez
    Vick has another stellar outing against Rams' defense
    by RamDez
    Vick has another stellar outing against Rams' defense
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Jan. 16 2005

    ATLANTA - The Michael Vick Experience was open for business Saturday night at
    the Georgia Dome. But this time, he had to share the profits with Atlanta's top
    two running backs.

    Vick, the Falcons' multithreat quarterback, shredded the Rams for 201 total
    yards - 119 rushing, on just eight carries, and 82 passing, on 12-of-16

    He threw for touchdowns of 18 yards to tight end Alge Crumpler in the first
    quarter and 6 yards to wide receiver Peerless Price in the third period, as the
    Falcons buried the Rams 47-17 in the NFC semifinals.

    "Vick always come to play," Rams defensive end Anthony Hargrove said. "Whenever
    you go against him, you know you're going to get a handful of stuff. He had a
    great game throwing the ball and running the ball. So, hats off to him."

    The Falcons piled up 397 total yards, and a whopping 327 came on their
    relentless ground game. Tailbacks Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett bruised the
    Rams for a total of 208 yards in 32 carries - an average of 6.5 yards per

    "Whether it was Dunn slipping in here or there or Vick with the bootleg ... we
    worked against it all week, but we just couldn't stop it," defensive end
    Leonard Little said. "They really had their thing going."

    Dunn rushed for 1,106 yards in the regular season, and the bullish Duckett
    added 509. Atlanta's average of 167.0 yards was the best in the NFL.

    "It was pretty much just a straight running game," Hargrove said. "It was a
    matter of them just lining and running the ball, and us just not being in the
    right gaps and not making tackles."

    But defensive tackle Ryan Pickett pointed out that the ever-present threat of a
    Vick improvisation kept the Rams guessing, which created opportunities for Dunn
    and Duckett.

    "You've always got to worry about (Vick) taking off with a bootleg," Pickett
    said. "You have to play things differently, because his threat to run is so
    great. That definitely opens up things for everybody else."

    Added defensive end Bryce Fisher: "It takes one more guy out of the box
    (between the tackles). You have to be out there on him, because when he gets
    the ball out there on the perimeter, if he's got you outflanked, there's nobody
    who's going to catch him."
    That was evident early: Vick scrambled 47 yards on the third play after
    kickoff; two snaps later, he found Crumpler in the end zone, and Atlanta was up
    7-0 just 3 minutes into the contest.

    Vick also was the catalyst on Sept. 19, when the...
    -01-16-2005, 03:48 AM
  • RamWraith
    Can Rams 'account' for Vick the second time around?
    by RamWraith
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Tuesday, Jan. 11 2005

    The last time the Rams played the Atlanta Falcons, they didn't get a real good
    look at quarterback Michael Vick.

    He darted around some defenders and outran others. He completed 14 of 19 passes
    for 179 yards and a touchdown and he ran for another 109 yards on 12 carries.
    The Rams hardly got a whiff of him.

    Imagine Barry Sanders with a bit more speed and a cannon arm. That's Vick, a
    man widely regarded as the best pure talent in the NFL.

    "As an athlete, he is the best in the league, there is no question about that,"
    Rams coach Mike Martz said during his Monday news conference. "The first thing
    you need to do is account for him."

    So how do they go about that during Saturday night's playoff game?

    During his regular playoff segment on 1380 ESPN's morning show, former NFL
    offensive lineman Mark Schlereth offered up an interesting suggestion: Don't
    assign a defender to track his whereabouts.

    "I don't believe you spy on this guy," Schlereth said, noting that a 300-pound
    defensive lineman or a 250-pound linebacker isn't likely to take down Vick with
    a one-on-one tackle anyway.

    "How defensive coordinators come up with that garbage is beyond me," Schlereth

    Also, the ESPN analyst said, "I don't believe in keeping the integrity of your
    rush lanes." By trying to merely contain Vick, he explained, tacklers play
    tentatively. And this guy runs around tentative tacklers.

    Schlereth suggested the entire Rams defensive unit ought to play Vick
    aggressively and take its chances.

    "Tampa Bay does that as well as anybody and they usually shut down Vick," he
    said. Earlier this season, the Buccaneers held him to eight completions and 220
    yards combined passing and rushing in one game, and just 196 combined yards
    (with two interceptions and five sacks) in the other.

    With that approach comes risk, of course. Vick is a big play waiting to happen.

    "You have to understand that he's going to make three game-changing plays with
    his feet," Schlereth said. "You just can't let the other stuff beat you."

    Indeed, Vick is an average passer. He threw just 14 touchdown passes during the
    regular season and 12 interceptions. His passer rating was just 78.1. He
    clicked with tight end Alge Crumpler, but didn't get a whole lot done with his
    wide receivers.

    Teams that did get after Vick caused him to make mistakes. Vick fumbled 15
    times, losing seven of them, and he suffered 46 sacks -- a stunning...
    -01-12-2005, 04:49 AM
  • RamDez
    Falcons let Vick be Vick
    by RamDez
    By Lori Shontz

    Of the Post-Dispatch

    Michael Vick was injured while playing in an exhibition game a year ago and missed most of the season.
    (John Amis/AP)

    His biggest adjustment to the Atlanta Falcons' new offensive scheme? Michael Vick didn't have to agonize over that answer.

    "Waking up every morning and coming to the building to study the offense," he said.

    You see, Vick normally awakens at 8 a.m. But to be walking in the door to the practice facility at 7, Vick must wake up at 6:15.

    "That's a big difference," he said.

    "Other than that, it's just football," Vick added. "You've got to learn to execute the plays and do what the coach is asking for. There was really nothing tough about it."

    Yet for all Vick's blase attitude, his transition to the new scheme - commonly labeled as the West Coast offense - made the preseason a stressful one for Falcons fans.

    First, of course, came the worry that Vick would be injured. That was a leftover from the previous season, when a broken fibula in an exhibition game knocked him out for all but four games of the regular season.

    So Vick played sparingly during this preseason, sparking worries that he wasn't yet comfortable in the new offense. Plus, a hamstring injury kept him out of the Falcons' third exhibition game. Vick completed only five passes during the preseason.

    "I knew there was really no way I was going to win that one ... no matter what I did," said Jim Mora Jr., who took over as head coach when Dan Reeves was fired after last season. "I just couldn't wait for the regular season to get here so it would all go away."

    And that's just about what happened.

    The Falcons beat San Francisco in their opener and Vick played well, completing 13 of 22 passes for 163 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

    "Fortunately he went out in the first half and had a nice first half the other day, and I think that put a lot of people here at ease in terms of him being ready to play in this offense," said Mora, who insists that calling the Falcons' scheme the West Coast offense is not technically correct.

    To some who watched - including Rams defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson, who is preparing for Sunday's game in the Georgia Dome - that game showed that Vick is moving toward yet another level.

    "I see a progression," Jackson said. "I see a guy who's trying to be a quarterback, who's seeing the passes he needs to make. And then when a play breaks down ... you see the same old Michael Vick."

    To think of another level is saying a lot about Vick, who, as the Falcons' media guide puts it, possesses "rare athletic abilities not before seen at the quarterback
    -09-19-2004, 03:38 AM
  • RamWraith
    The offense, not defense, will have to stop Vick
    by RamWraith
    By Bernie Miklasz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Jan. 13 2005

    Playoff update: The Rams don't have the Seattle Seahawks to kick around
    anymore. As exciting as it has been to watch the Rams come to life, momentum
    can only take them so far. And this week the Rams are going to Atlanta.
    Unfortunately, they can't return to Seattle to torment Mike Holmgren and the
    NFL's most gutless team.

    It's one thing to travel to the Pacific Northwest and slap around the feckless
    Seahawks. After all, the Rams did that in the regular season, before they
    supposedly found a righteous path to their newfound glory.

    A playoff win is an impressive achievement, but was anyone really surprised to
    see the Rams hold off Seattle? The terrain, and the challenge, have changed.
    Now the Rams move up in class. Now they go to Atlanta and the Georgia Dome
    hothouse. Now the Rams must face the Falcons, who clobbered them by 17 points
    in the second game of the season.

    "They lined up and whipped us, and whipped us good," Rams coach Mike Martz
    said. "And not because we didn't have somebody. They lined up and physically
    whipped us on both sides of the ball."

    And now the Rams face their own version of Mission Impossible: They have to
    trap Michael Vick, who bobbed and weaved through an overwhelmed, overheated,
    oxygen-deprived, arm-tackling, flat-footed Rams defense on Sept. 19.

    In a one-man demonstration of futuristic quarterbacking, Vick all but used the
    game to film another Nike commercial, with Rams' defenders serving as extras
    and props. Vick rushed for 109 yards, averaging 9.1 yards a carry, and
    completed 73 percent of his throws. Vick played at 70 mph. The Rams crawled
    along in the slow lane.

    "Obviously, Michael Vick did what he wanted," Rams quarterback Marc Bulger

    Vick is basically the best option quarterback in football history.

    The Rams may be able to prevent Vick from going off again, but I tend to doubt
    it. The Rams did a superb job of halting Seattle running back Shaun Alexander
    last week, but Atlanta is a different beast. When Seattle opts to run, everyone
    in the stadium knows Alexander will carry the ball. But Atlanta isn't as
    formatted. Vick can zoom off on a designed bootleg. Vick can fake a run and
    slip the ball to halfback Warrick Dunn. Vick can hand off to 242-pound
    bulldozer T.J. Duckett. Or Vick can drop back to pass, then launch himself on a

    Tapping into such grand diversity and extreme athleticism, the Falcons led the
    NFL in rushing. Coach Jim Mora wisely plays to this strength. When the Falcons
    get the early lead, which is often the...
    -01-14-2005, 04:31 AM
  • Nick
    “Michael Vick Experience” Lets Fans Live the Thrills of Passing for 148 Yards and 0 T
    by Nick
    “Michael Vick Experience” Lets Fans Live the Thrills of Passing for 148 Yards and 0 TD's

    Disney Group announced the creation of a new exhilarating theme park ride called “The Michael Vick Experience”, which lets fans of the National Football League experience the adrenaline rush of passing for 148 Yards and 0 touchdowns as the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback.

    The interactive ride, the first of its kind, places you in a simulated NFL game environment. Carried throughout a playing field on a mechanical chair attached to a ceiling, you wow fans with highlight-reel three-yard-runs and underutilize your strong arm by dumping the ball off to fullbacks coming out of the backfield.

    “The Michael Vick Experience” will first be offered at the Disneyland® Resort in California, and at Disneyworld® in Florida.

    “If you’re a football fan, you’ve probably wondered what it’s like to play in the NFL as an over-hyped quarterback with a career passing rating of 76.8. Well, we’re now giving you a chance to do just that,” said Michael Eisner, Chief Executive of Disney Group.

    “From taking off and running instead of checking down to a second or third receiver to completing barely more than 50% of your passes to throwing for less than 150 yards per game, this ride shows off each one of Michael Vick’s seemingly incomparable skills. If you’ve ever wondered why analysts mistakenly call him one of the top 3 quarterbacks in the league, get your hand stamped and buckle up.”

    The ride, which costs just $10 (fully day Michael Vick Experience pass costs $60), lets you pick any game on the Falcons 2004 schedule.

    Show off your electrifying running skills by rushing for 10 yards as you squeak by the San Francisco *****, or light it up through the air as you pass for 115 yards and get sacked six times in a ****ty win against the God-awful Arizona Cardinals.

    “Holy ****ing ****, that was incredible!” said Tim Gaston, seconds after not leading the Falcons to a 27-10 win over the Carolina Panthers. “We put up almost 30 points, and I did absolutely nothing except complete 10 measly passes. The best part of the ride had to be watching Tamp Bay Buccaneers castoff running back Warrick Dunn solidify his role as the team leader by rushing for yet another touchdown. That’s a feeling you just can’t get by watching the game on TV or even going to it. It’s like I was really there, not making a difference. That’s one wild ride. ”

    “Whoa! That was insane!” said Derek Conner, who paid $40 to play in each one of the Falcons’ games this year. I can’t believe I just passed for two touchdowns in four games! God, that’s awesome. And the part where all the fans around me gasped for breath and screamed in fright each time I dropped back to pass was incredible! The only way this ride could get any better is if I could fumble two or three times and break a fibula...
    -10-30-2004, 10:54 AM