Two weeks ago Falcons QB Michael Vick came out and protested about the lack of freedom that he had with the Atlanta offense. It was more of a plea than a complaint, as the Falcons were in a situation that they had to rely on their running game so much, that the moment they got behind there was no way they were going to recover. That exact situation took place three weeks ago, when after having an early lead at home, the team was beaten up by the Giants over the last two quarters, and went on to suffer a bad home loss.
The next week, Vick and his mates turned the corner, throwing the ball more, and making big plays to take pressure off the running game. The result – a thrilling 41-38 overtime win over the Steelers. Sunday’s test was not going to be an easy one, as the team traveled to Cincy to take on a Bengals team coming off a big home win the week before against the Panthers. This time Vick would be called on again to make plays, not only with his feet – but with his arm. Again, the play calling allowed Vick to make plays, and again, the Falcons made a huge statement with a gutsy 29-27 win at Paul Brown Stadium.
Even coach Jim Mora admitted that the play calling, which allowed for more throws was a bit different. “We got a bit more aggressive with some of our calls,” Mora said. “We felt, as coaches, it was up to us to help our players make a play.” The player that has benefited the most from those aggressive play calls is Vick, who over the last two games has produced the biggest throwing numbers of his career. Coming off a 232-yard, 4 TD showcase against the Steelers, Vick was even better Sunday, throwing for 291 yards, three TD’s and no interceptions. His QB rating in the win was 140.6, the second highest of his career. The last two games he has thrown for a total of 523 yards and 7 TD’s.
“Just give me the chance to do it,” Vick said. “I’ve felt all along, this is what I could do.”
What the Falcons can do is even more dangerous if Vick stays in the groove that he has been in the last two weeks. Also putting up 55 yards on the ground himself, the team as a whole didn’t exactly forget about the run, still putting up 143 yards on 38 carries, 3.8 yards per rush. With 420 yards of total offense, the Falcons kept the Bengals guessing all day long. “He’s a heck of a player,” Bengals DE 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.”
The Falcons may be one of the more dangerous teams in the NFC. Now at 5-2 and in a tie for the division lead with the Saints, Atlanta’s new aggressive offense may be the key when it comes to trying to wrestle the division title back into the nest at the Georgia Dome. If Vick can continue to play at the level he has the last two weeks, there is no reason not to believe that Atlanta won’t be there come late January.