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 Sunday, leading the Atlanta Falcons to a 29-27 win over a Cincinnati Bengals team that had never seen anything quite like the show he put on.
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 played his first game in Cincinnati. He was 20 of 28 for 291 yards and left would-be tacklers scattered all over the field while running for 55 yards.
The Bengals’ 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 minutes 41 seconds 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 performances of the season on a downcast note. Palmer was 24 of 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.”