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Vick puts on 1-man show

©Associated Press
October 21, 2002

ATLANTA -- Michael Vick feigned a pass to escape one defender, got past another by breaking a tackle and tiptoed down the sideline for a 44-yard touchdown on his final play of the day.

He kept right on running, disappearing into the tunnel, probably looking for a television so he could watch what he just did.

"It's amazing," Vick said, shaking his head. "I just get up after some plays and say, 'Oh, man, I can't wait to see that one on film.' "

In a virtuoso one-man performance Sunday, Vick totaled 297 yards running and throwing to lead the Falcons past the Panthers 30-0.

Not bad for a guy who missed the previous game with an ailing shoulder. Not bad for a guy who played only three quarters.

Vick had all sorts of plays worthy of the highlight film, saving the best for last. His touchdown was the second-longest run by a quarterback in Falcons history, eclipsed only by Bob Berry's 45-yarder in 1968.

The second-year quarterback completed 16 of 22 for 178 yards, ran six times for 91 yards and got credit for 28 yards receiving after running with a lateral, all against the league's second-ranked defense.

"It's totally different than reading about him or seeing him on film or TV," Panthers safety Mike Minter said. "The guy is quick, fast and strong. I mean, we had him dead-on a couple of times."

Carolina, playing without No. 1 quarterback Rodney Peete, did nothing on offense. The Panthers didn't cross midfield until late in the third quarter and didn't come close to scoring until the final minute.

Chris Weinke started at quarterback but was knocked out in the first half with a possible concussion after going 3-of-8 for 26 yards.

Third-stringer Randy Fasani, a rookie from Stanford, went the rest of the way and didn't show much in his pro debut unless he was scrambling.

Rookie T.J. Duckett, Atlanta's first-round draft pick, scored the first two touchdowns of his career.

But this day belonged to Vick, who had 92 more yards than the Panthers.

Vick had vowed that he wouldn't try to protect his right shoulder if he was healthy enough to play. "If I have to go half-speed, I'd rather sit on the bench," he said.

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