Commentary

Fantasy: Michael Vick's historic night

Updated: August 24, 2011, 1:25 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was a godsend to fantasy owners in 2010. After going undrafted in a majority of leagues, he captured the starting gig in Week 2, started 11 games from that point forward and topped his position with an outstanding 300 fantasy points. Hollywood could hardly pen a more compelling tale of redemption.

But for one night last year, Vick's performance wasn't simply outstanding -- it was historic.

The stage was set for "Monday Night Football" on Nov. 15, a Week 10 contest at Washington's FedEx Field, as Vick's Eagles came to town with a chance at a share of the NFC East lead, to take on an old friend and his new teammates. Donovan McNabb, who had only hours earlier signed a five-year, $78 million contract extension with the Washington Redskins, was set to host his former team, one the Redskins had defeated six weeks earlier in Philadelphia. After that game, McNabb had had choice words for his former mates: "Everybody makes mistakes in their lifetime, and they made one last year."

The Eagles were out for revenge, and they had a weapon the Redskins, whose pass defense had surrendered four touchdowns to the Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford two weeks earlier en route to a No. 31 season ranking, could hardly contain: They had Vick.

Michael Vick
Rafael Suanes/US PresswireVick was 20-for-28 passing for 333 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions ...

Vick celebrated Thanksgiving 10 days early by carving up the Redskins' defense, hitting DeSean Jackson with an opening-play, 88-yard touchdown strike. It was a play as sweet as cranberry sauce for Jackson; it came at safety LaRon Landry's expense minutes after the two reportedly had engaged in a pregame tiff. Mere seconds into the game, Vick gave his owners seven fantasy points in ESPN standard scoring on one throw (three points for the yardage, four for the touchdown pass). Fantasy owners whose teams carried a handy lead into the Monday night game but faced a Vick-led squad were beginning to sweat.

Vick only turned up the thermostat. Five minutes into the game, he had 15 fantasy points. At the end of the first quarter, he had 23, generally regarded a good one-week performance, even for the game's elite.

At halftime, Vick had a whopping 40 fantasy points, and his Eagles had a 45-14 lead. Some perspective on that fantasy point total: No other quarterback in the 2010 season managed that many in an entire game. In fact, since 1950 -- the first year for which detailed game-by-game statistics are available -- only 13 other quarterbacks have had 40 or more fantasy points in one game.

As Vick's owners gleefully digested the halftime highlight show, many fantasy matchups already had been unexpectedly overturned.

Incredibly, he wasn't done.

[+] EnlargeMichael Vick
Larry French/Getty Images... and he had 80 rushing yards with two touchdown runs.

Vick took a more tempered approach in the game's second half but played on, providing his owners an additional nine fantasy points for 49 total on the night. He became only the third player in NFL history to pass for 300 yards with four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. (Eric Hipple on Oct. 19, 1981, and Bill Kenney on Nov. 27, 1983, are the others.) He set an all-time high for most ESPN standard fantasy points by an Eagles player in a single game. He managed the greatest fantasy-point total in the history of "Monday Night Football," surpassing Jerry Rice's record of 45, set Dec. 18, 1995.

Most importantly, Vick's 49 points represented the most by any quarterback in one game since 1950, besting the NFL-record seven-passing-touchdown performances of George Blanda (Nov. 19, 1961) and Y.A. Tittle (Oct. 28, 1962) by a mere fantasy point; they previously shared the honor with 48.

All time, accounting for all skill positions, Vick's 49-point performance ranks 13th since 1950 and sixth among games played since the merger.

Obviously, that means it was 2010's top fantasy performance by a quarterback. Now guess who had the second-best point total? You guessed it: Vick, who dropped 38 points on the division-rival New York Giants five weeks later.

Yes, it was a story fit for the movies. Heck, on that one November night, his effort might not even have been believable had it been a screenplay.