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Vick carries Falcons to win again

©Associated Press
December 2, 2002

MINNEAPOLIS -- With legs that fast, it's a wonder Michael Vick ever thinks about passing.

Vick ran for a career-high 173 yards on 10 carries Sunday, including the winning 46-yard touchdown run in overtime to lead the Falcons to a 30-24 victory over the Vikings. Vick's yardage was the most by a quarterback since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. The mark was 127 yards, set by Chicago's Bobby Douglass in 1972.

Vick accounted for 346 of Atlanta's 379 yards.

"Coach (Dan) Reeves is always telling me, 'Get down, get down,' " Vick said. "But I wasn't seeing that. I was thinking end zone."

The Falcons are 7-0-1 since a home loss to Tampa Bay Oct. 6.

Vick was 11-for-28 for 173 yards passing, with a touchdown, an interception and two fumbles.

But he got his chance when Sam Rogers sacked Daunte Culpepper on the Vikings' first overtime possession to force a punt. On the Falcons' second offensive play of the extra period, Vick dropped back, rolled left and broke two tackles on his way to the end zone for his second rushing score of the game.

"He certainly had bad plays today, but he just didn't let it bother him," Reeves said. "I've never seen anyone turn on the jets like that."

Vikings linebacker Henri Crockett, who was with the Falcons the past five seasons, was asked if he had seen speed like that before.

"Yes," Crockett said. "Last year in Atlanta, when he was our scout team quarterback. He's changed the game. There are going to be no more pocket passers anymore."

Culpepper was 23-of-43 for 266 yards and a touchdown passing and scored once on the ground, but was sacked six times and threw three interceptions. The Vikings lead the league with 35 turnovers, 26 by Culpepper.

On third-and-15 just before the 2-minute warning, with the Vikings trailing 24-21, Culpepper heaved a pass to the Atlanta 32 for 40 yards to Randy Moss, who caught nine for 134 yards.

Then with Minnesota deep in Atlanta territory with 27 seconds left in regulation, Moss went in motion, took a handoff and threw a touchdown across the field to Culpepper -- but it was negated by an illegal formation penalty.

Culpepper's pass to Moe Williams was incomplete on the next play and Gary Anderson kicked a 29-yard field goal to tie it with 11 seconds left.

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