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Vick points to victories ... or stats ... or both
By JOANNE KORTH
Published December 24, 2005
Michael Vick needs to pick an argument.
And stick with it.
For the past several seasons, the human highlight reel has bristled at anyone who dared mention his subpar statistics as a passer, prefering to be judged by his win-loss record, which stands at 31-17-1.
Yet when a member of the bay area media dared to ask Vick during a conference call Wednesday what about the Bucs defense has given him such trouble over the years, Vick took offense based on his exemplary statistics in the most recent meeting.
On Nov. 20, Vick completed 21 of 38 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns in his best statistical game against Tampa Bay. But the Falcons lost 30-27, and Vick fell to 2-4 against the Bucs.
So which is it, Mike? If you're a winner when you win with lousy stats, what are you when you lose with greats stats?
Falcons coach Jim Mora took a crack at explaining why Vick's statistics were so much better that game than in previous meetings with Tampa Bay, and it had little to do with Vick.
"I think it was more than Michael," Mora said. "We made some plays down the field. We ran the ball okay. We were behind from the get-go, so we were in a situation where we really had to wing it around to try to make something happen. His numbers were better because of that."
Mora closed with an observation that seems in line with Vick's theory of wins as the most important stat.
"You can have all the yards you want," Mora said. "But they made the plays to win the game."
Vick is, perhaps, the NFL's most hyped player the past five years because of his speed and eye-popping ability to elude defenders. His athleticism is rare, indeed, for the position. He has a strong arm. He has proved he can post 100-plus passer ratings, that he can throw from the pocket if that's what a defense gives him.
But is anyone else starting to get the impression nothing is ever Vick's fault?
After the loss to the Bucs, Vick seemed dismayed with the Falcons defense, saying he could control only what happened on his side of the ball. Apparently, it takes more than a special quarterback to win games, so perhaps wins and losses are a crummy way to gauge a quarterback.
Still, Vick claims wins speak louder than statistics. That means the proper reply to a question regarding the difficulty he has had against the Bucs defense is to say he needs to find ways to win more often against his NFC South rivals; that he needs to make game-winning plays.