Falcons 29

(5-2, 2-1 away)

Bengals 27

(4-3, 2-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, October 29, 2006

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 

1 2 3 4 T
ATL 6 7 13 329
CIN 7 10 3 727

Top Performers

Passing: M. Vick (ATL) - 291 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: W. Dunn (ATL) - 20 CAR, 57 YDS

Receiving: C. Henry (CIN) - 5 REC, 81 YDS, 1 TD

Vick's arm (3 TDs), legs (55 yards) help Falcons trip Bengals

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Michael Vick has found a balance. His passer rating is just as impressive as his 40-yard dash these days.

Vick threw three more touchdown passes on Sunday, leading the Atlanta Falcons to a 29-27 victory over a Cincinnati Bengals team that had never seen anything quite like the show he put on.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
This game featured two dynamic quarterbacks playing at a high level, but Michael Vick (right) was the difference. He was very sharp, threw with touch and zip, and made clutch plays with his feet. The Bengals' defense played run early on and challenged Vick to beat them -- and Vick was definitely up to the challenge. Atlanta protected well and Vick utilized his weapons very efficiently.

Carson Palmer commanded Cincinnati's offense and utilized his top three receivers proficiently. But, with the exception of a long pass to Chris Henry, Atlanta's defense braced up in the second half and sealed the win.

Few teams have.

The mercurial quarterback has led the Falcons (5-2) to consecutive wins over the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers and the defending AFC North champion Bengals by throwing the ball. Vick has thrown seven touchdown passes in the last two games, proving his point.

"I feel I just need the opportunity to throw the ball," said Vick, whose passer rating of 140.6 was the second highest of his career. "Just give me the chance to do it. I've felt like all along, this is what I could do."

No matter what they did, the Bengals (4-3) were helpless to run him down or shut him down.

Many of the Bengals' defenders had never faced Vick, who put on quite a show in his first career visit to Cincinnati. He went 20 of 28 for 291 yards and left would-be tacklers scattered all over the field while running for another 55 yards.

Seen enough, Bengals?

"He's a heck of a player," defensive end Bryan Robinson said. "When your goal is to keep him in the pocket and you do that and he still makes the play, that's frustrating."

In the last two games, Vick has gone 38 of 58 for 523 yards with those seven touchdowns and two interceptions, which translates into a passer rating of 119.5. Previously, Vick had never thrown more than four touchdowns in any two-game span of his career.

"He's leading like a champion," said tight end Alge Crumpler, who has caught four of those seven touchdowns. "He never points fingers at anybody in this locker room and is constantly encouraging everybody."

He was so good that Carson Palmer, last year's NFL leader in touchdown passes, and Pro Bowl receiver Chad Johnson were reduced to a sideshow.

Palmer made it close, throwing a 55-yard touchdown pass to Chris Henry that cut it to 29-27 with 3:41 to go. But Vick helped the Falcons run the clock down to 19 seconds before a punt pinned the Bengals at their 17-yard line.

Palmer fumbled while being sacked, ending one of his better performance of the season on a downcast note. Palmer was 24-for-36 for 266 yards in his failed quest to keep up with Vick.

"He's like nobody else in our league -- a Reggie Bush-type player," Palmer said. "He's exciting and fun to watch. He's one of the few guys you pay to go watch play."

The main event was supposed to be the matchup of Johnson and cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who had kept up a stream of trash talk since they met at the Pro Bowl last February. Eight months of dissing culminated in one last face-to-face exchange before the first play.

The Falcons took the bait.

Hall threw Johnson to the ground emphatically on the first play, and safety Chris Crocker drew a late-hit penalty for knocking down Johnson again when he got up.

Johnson was under the Falcons' skin. Now, he had to get into the end zone.

He'd promised at least two touchdowns. He got one midway through the first quarter, taking a quick throw from Palmer and putting a move on Jason Webster to shake free for a 14-6 lead and his second touchdown of the season.

Johnson finished with six catches for a team-high 78 yards -- numbers that failed to back up the prolonged brag.

"Their game plan was to just throw away from me," Hall said. "For the most part, it was a relatively quiet day for him."

After the game, Johnson had nothing but good wishes and good words for Hall.

"It was a lot of fun," Johnson said. "I enjoyed it. Its not every day you get to play against one of the best in the NFL."

Vick let the Falcons get the final word.

In one say-it-all play, Vick eluded the rush, rolled left, pulled up and lobbed a 26-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins in the third quarter. His 8-yard pass to fullback Justin Griffith put the Falcons ahead to stay at 26-20 -- a bad snap scuttled the extra point -- and showed that teams can't worry exclusively about his speed anymore.

"He's just getting comfortable," Hall said. "He's coming into his own."

Game notes

Vick's best career passer rating was 141.7 in a 41-0 win at Carolina on Nov. 24, 2002. ... Vick threw only three touchdown passes in the first five games this season. ... Bengals S Kevin Kaesviharn left in the third quarter after landing hard on his left knee. He jogged off the field, but didn't return. ... Henry had five catches for 81 yards in his first game back since serving a two-game suspension from the NFL.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2522
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6756
Total Yards420331
Yards per play6.35.9
Total Drives1110
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-32-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

atlFG11:28Morten Andersen 42 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 57 yds, 3:36
cinTD7:01Rudi Johnson, 1 yd run (Shayne Graham kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 74 yds, 4:28
atlFG1:01Morten Andersen 40 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 55 yds, 6:00
cinTD7:20Chad Johnson, 12 yd pass from Carson Palmer (Shayne Graham kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yds, 3:59
atlTD2:00Alge Crumpler, 16 yd pass from Michael Vick (Morten Andersen kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 81 yds, 5:19
cinFG0:20Shayne Graham 51 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 48 yds, 1:39
atlTD10:06Michael Jenkins, 26 yd pass from Michael Vick (Morten Andersen kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 65 yds, 3:48
cinFG4:39Shayne Graham 26 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 62 yds, 5:21
atlTD2:30Justin Griffith, 8 yd pass from Michael Vick
Drive info: 5 plays, 60 yds, 2:13
atlFG7:48Morten Andersen 39 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 53 yds, 7:18
cinTD3:49Chris Henry, 55 yd pass from Carson Palmer (Shayne Graham kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 55 yds, 0:00