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Vick caps big running day with 46-yard overtime TD

12/1/2002

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

Question on the Falcons: What's your evaluation of Mr. Vick right now?
I think he's the MVP. Atlanta is on a great winning streak, and he's the difference-maker. If you take him away from the Falcons, there's no way they'd be 8-3-1. In just his second year, he's making some people wonder whether the Chargers made a mistake in not drafting him.

Question on the Vikings: Why are they so bad fundamentally (tackling, turnovers, etc.)?
They're very undisciplined. Too often Minnesota's defenders are trying to make plays outside the scheme of the defense. They play well for three or four plays, but then they lose their focus and allow a big gain. On offense, QB Daunte Culpepper is having a shaky year. But he's young and talented, so he'll bounce back.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Vick ran for a career-high 173 yards on 10 carries, including
the winning 46-yard touchdown run in overtime to lead the Atlanta
Falcons to a 30-24 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Vick's yardage was the most by a quarterback since the 1970 NFL-AFL
merger. The previous mark was 127 yards, set by the Chicago Bears'
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 (8-3-1) are 7-0-1 since a home loss to Tampa Bay on
Oct. 6, and they won for the first time in three overtime games
this year.

"This team is playing with unbelievable confidence right now,''
said linebacker Keith Brooking. "The sky's the limit for us.''

Vick was just 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 TD of the game.

"I just try to forget about all the bad plays and just move on
to the next play,'' Vick said. "You have to be strong mentally to
be successful.''

Added Reeves: ``He certainly had bad plays today, but he just
didn't let it bother him.''

"I've never seen anyone turn on the jets like that.''

Vikings linebacker Henri Crockett, who was with the Falcons the
last five years, 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-for-43 for 266 yards, one touchdown passing and
another on the ground, but he was sacked six times and threw three
interceptions. The Vikings (3-9) lead the league with 35 turnovers,
26 by Culpepper.

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

Moss went in motion, took a handoff and threw a touchdown pass
across the field to Culpepper with 27 seconds left in regulation,
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 the game
with 11 seconds left.

Michael Bennett had 86 yards rushing on 18 carries, including a
1-yard score that gave the Vikings a 21-14 lead late in the third.

Vick tied it minutes later, taking the ball on a sweep and
slicing through the Minnesota secondary for a 28-yard touchdown.

"The two times we lost contain, he really hurt us,'' said
Vikings coach Mike Tice. "We knew he was going to run. We didn't
want to let him beat us with his feet, and he eventually did.''

Forced out of the pocket by Lance Johnstone in the fourth
quarter, Vick's overthrow was intercepted by former Falcon Ronnie Bradford. The Vikings drove to the Atlanta 27, but Anderson's
field-goal attempt was blocked by Brooking, the second straight
week that's happened to Minnesota.

The Falcons took their first lead 24-21 on a 44-yard field goal
by Jay Feely with 3:33 left.

Brian Finneran had five receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown
with 37 seconds left in first half. His 39-yard catch earlier in
the second quarter set up Bob Christian's 1-yard run that tied the
game at 7.

"Mike didn't have his 'A' game passing, but that run at the end
of the game was something special,'' Finneran said. "He's a
freak.''

Culpepper had a 1-yard touchdown toss to wide-open tight end
Hunter Goodwin in the second quarter.

"The guys are pretty down and upset,'' Tice said. "They left
everything out on the field.''

Game notes
Minnesota's rookie left tackle, Bryant McKinnie, missed two
series in the second quarter and another in the third with an upset
stomach. He was doubled over a trash can next to the Vikings' bench
on two occasions. ... Atlanta's second-leading tackler, LB John Holecek, missed the game with a broken arm. ... Warrick Dunn left
in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle and didn't
return. ... The Falcons last played three overtime games in 1995.