Michael Vick told Jim Mora on Thursday to expect to see a different kind of quarterback against the Buffalo Bills, one that would stand tall in the pocket and make all of the reads before taking off. Maybe Vick should stand in the corner and take a time out because he told a fib.
Vick sidestepped danger all day as if he were playing matador on the I-90 and was his same old headache-inducing self Sunday in the Falcons' 24-16 victory over the Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Bad hamstring? Not bad enough to prevent Vick from rushing for 64 yards on nine carries -- a 7.1-yard average -- including a 27-yard game-breaker that led to Atlanta's clinching touchdown. Vick did stay in the pocket long enough to complete 15 of 27 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns, but he spent most of the day making the Bills swing and miss.
"It was about making plays when we had to," Vick said. "We are in a tough environment. You ask yourself the question, 'How bad do you want to get to 2-1? How bad do you want to win this game?' "
Bad enough that Vick wasn't going to allow a sore left hamstring to slow him down. Vick got hurt during a 32-yard run in the previous Sunday's 21-18 loss at Seattle and was pulled out of the game twice during the final two series. He had an MRI last Monday but was able to practice Thursday.
"The hamstring wasn't an issue," he said. "I just tried to block it out and put it in the back of my mind. I tried to just come out and make the plays that I am capable of making. Earlier in the game, I wasn't trying to do too much. As the game went on, I started to feel better and the hamstring wasn't an issue."
Mora didn't notice a difference in Vick. The quarterback slipped past the Bills' defense. So cunning and quick, no one would know he was there before he'd steal your breath away with a long run. Just like always.
"When it got right down to it, he still was able to make plays running," Mora said. "He did make some key plays with his arm, buying time to throw it, hanging in the pocket against an outstanding blitz package and making some key third-down conversions."
The first time he darted outside the pocket and into the Bills' fears was on the Falcons' first series, on third-and-10 with a 14-yard keeper. Two plays later, Troy Vincent was called for roughing the passer, and four plays after that, Angelo Crowell was hit for the same penalty. Those led to a 9-yard yard touchdown pass from Vick to Dwayne Blakley.
"Anytime you're on the road, your opponent comes out with a lot of intensity," said Vick. "We say that you've got to weather the first-quarter storm because they're going to be jacked up. That's why they were hitting me after the throw. That's why they were fined 15 (yards). It's part of the game. Guys are going to be jacked up and ready to play, they just have to keep their composure."