Falcons 24

(2-1, 1-1 away)

Bills 16

(1-2, 1-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 25, 2005

Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, NY 

1 2 3 4 T
ATL 7 10 0 724
BUF 3 10 3 016

Top Performers

Passing: M. Vick (ATL) - 167 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: W. McGahee (BUF) - 27 CAR, 140 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: B. Finneran (ATL) - 4 REC, 57 YDS

Vick shakes off tender hammy, throws two TDs

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Everyone knows what Michael Vick can do with his legs. Now the Atlanta Falcons' dynamic quarterback is showing he can win games with his arm, too.

It was over when ...
The Bills failed to capitalize on their opportunities, losing fumbles and failing to take advantage of a Falcons secondary that was down to three cornerbacks.
Game ball goes to ...
Michael Vick, who played despite a tender hamstring and ended with 167 yards passing and two TDs.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen With a hobbled Michael Vick, the Falcons had a tough game going against an exceptionally difficult Bills defense. Instead of folding, the Falcons got Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett on the field and won a tough game. That took a lot of pressure off Vick and hopefully will be the game plan for the Falcons in the future. They can't continue to put all the pressure on Vick even though he's a great player. They need the running game to thrive to keep the defense rested and off the field.
-- Eric Allen

Hindered by a hamstring injury, Vick concentrated on developing a pocket-passer mentality, leading the Falcons to a 24-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

"I learned a lot this week," Vick said. "This is a big game for me, and I think it's going to help me in the long run."

Vick had his share of big runs, finishing with 64 yards on nine carries, including a 27-yarder that left three defenders diving for air. But he also showed patience, poise and resilience in taking a couple big hits from a blitzing defense to spread the ball to six receivers.

Vick finished 15-of-27 for 167 yards passing -- his most in seven starts -- two touchdowns and an interception.

Coach Jim Mora saw it coming, saying Vick had indicated earlier this week he intended on passing more after being hurt at the end of a 21-18 loss at Seattle last weekend.

"Now I don't know if I saw a different kind of quarterback, because when it got right down to it, he still was able to make plays running," Mora said. "But he did make some key plays with his arm. ... You get glimpses of these great things that he's capable of and you're going to see it on a consistent basis."

Warrick Dunn, with 97 yards rushing, and T.J. Duckett, with 75 yards rushing and a touchdown, picked up the slack, while the Falcons banged up defense held the Bills in check, limiting them to 208 yards.

Dwayne Blakley had a 9-yard touchdown reception and Michael Jenkins a 15-yarder helping Atlanta (2-1) snap a four-game road losing streak dating to last season.

The Bills (1-2) have lost two straight and can't get their offense going, and their defense might have sustained a big blow when linebacker Takeo Spikes hurt his right Achilles tendon in the second quarter and did not return.

Coach Mike Mularkey wouldn't speculate on the severity of Spikes' injury, saying he'll know more after more tests.

What's also disturbing is how ineffective quarterback J.P. Losman was and how Buffalo's defense uncharacteristically gave up 236 yards rushing -- the most since allowing 270 yards against Miami, Dec. 1, 2002.

"We missed a ton of tackles," safety Troy Vincent said. "I don't think we're pressing. But we didn't give the offense enough opportunities."

Not that the offense did much with the opportunities it had.

The Bills settled for two field goals and a touchdown in three trips inside Atlanta's 20.

And they squandered another scoring opportunity in the final four minutes after Atlanta's DeAngelo Hall fumbled on a punt return near midfield. Buffalo, however, gave the ball back when Losman slipped and fell, failing to convert a fourth-and-inches at the Falcons' 29.

"It's frustrating," Losman said. "I will never be happy or satisfied until I play to a level where I want to play at. ... We need to get the job done."

The first-year starter finished 10-of-23 for 75 yards with an interception and lost a fumble. And this time the Bills didn't have Willis McGahee to blame.

Criticized for failing to be decisive in last weekend's 19-3 loss at Tampa Bay, McGahee had a career-high 140 yards rushing and scored Buffalo's lone touchdown, an 8-yarder up the middle.

Receiver Eric Moulds was unhappy the Bills didn't attempt to pass more against a defensive secondary that was down to three cornerbacks.

"I don't want to second-guess what they wanted to do, but at some point, we have to be able to take shots down the field," Moulds said, referring to the game plan.

Vick was the difference with the game on the line.

Ahead 17-16 late in the third quarter, Vick marched Atlanta on a nine-play, 65-yard drive, capped by Duckett's 12-yard run. He converted a third-and-11 with a 17-yard pass over the middle to Brian Finneran. Six plays later, facing third-and-10 at the Bills' 39, Vick scampered for 27 yards to set up Duckett's touchdown.

"He's just out there proving people wrong," Jenkins said, referring to those who call Vick one-dimensional. "Making great throws, making plays with his feet as well, he had a complete game."

Game notes

In three games, Buffalo has managed two touchdowns and settled for nine field goals. ... Vick improved to 25-13-1 as a starter. ... The Bills have three first downs passing in the last two games. ... Hall hurt his shoulder in the first quarter but returned for the second half.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2418
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6362
Total Yards403208
Yards per play6.43.4
Total Drives108
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-40-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

bufFG9:38Rian Lindell 28 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 50 yds, 5:15
atlTD3:50Dwayne Blakley, 9 yd pass from Michael Vick (Todd Peterson kick is good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 84 yds, 5:37
bufFG14:49Rian Lindell 33 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, -43 yds, 11:05
atlTD10:14Michael Jenkins, 15 yd pass from Michael Vick (Todd Peterson kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 74 yds, 4:25
bufTD4:00Willis McGahee, 8 yd run (Rian Lindell kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yds, 6:07
atlFG0:02Todd Peterson 19 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 82 yds, 1:06
bufFG10:14Rian Lindell 22 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 8 yds, 3:24
atlTD12:14T.J. Duckett, 12 yd run (Todd Peterson kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, -35 yds, 9:53