Vick will try to lead the Falcons to the first 6-1 start in their 39-year history when they visit the Kansas City Chiefs.
After struggling for three quarters, Vick almost single-handedly rallied Atlanta from a 10-point deficit for a 21-20 win over San Diego and a commanding lead in the NFC South.
“I feel like I can do almost anything,” said Vick, who is still adjusting to first-year Falcons coach Jim Mora’s West Coast offense.
Vick did anything and everything against the Chargers in the fourth, throwing for 130 of his 218 yards and a touchdown, and running for 28 yards and another score.
“I wouldn’t trade him for anybody,” Mora said.
The fourth-year quarterback finished 12-for-21 with two touchdown passes and gained 35 yards on nine rushing attempts. That came after he lost two fumbles and threw an interception in a 17-10 loss to Detroit on Oct. 10 that prevented the Falcons’ first 5-0 start.
“The sleeping giant awoke,” Chargers receiver Tim Dwight said. “All it takes is one play to ignite your football team, and that’s what Vick brings.”
Vick’s performance came at an important time, as the Falcons defense faltered slightly after its strong play in the first five games.
Atlanta entered Sunday’s game allowing just 13.2 points per game, but gave up 14 before halftime and let the Chargers hold the ball for nearly 37 minutes. The Falcons surrendered 318 total yards, slightly higher than their 293.2 average, but did maintain their top-ranked run defense.
The Falcons, allowing just 74.5 rushing yards per game, shut down running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who ran for only 66 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown—just the fourth rushing score Atlanta has allowed this season.
Leading the way has been defensive end Patrick Kerney, tied for second in the NFL with seven sacks, and Rod Coleman, who leads all defensive tackles with four. The Falcons are tied with Philadelphia for the NFL lead with 20 sacks.
However, Atlanta will be without Coleman for a second straight game because of injuries suffered in a mysterious car wreck last Saturday. According to the police report, Coleman said he swerved to avoid a deer and flipped his car.
The rest of the Atlanta defense will face another of the NFL’s strongest running backs in Priest Holmes.
Holmes, who has run for 551 yards and six touchdowns this season, leads a running game that averages 139.8 yards per contest, sixth-best in the league. He is fifth in the AFC with 612 scrimmage yards and second with 35 first downs.
Holmes caught his first touchdown pass of the season from Trent Green to give the Chiefs a 16-14 lead over Jacksonville on Sunday, but Byron Leftwich led the Jaguars on a late scoring drive for a 22-16 victory.
Kansas City had one final chance, but Green’s pass near the goal line was intercepted as time expired. He finished 23-of-33 for 315 yards and two touchdowns, but was also sacked six times.
The Chiefs failed to score on their first possession for the first time this season and the defeat gave them one more loss than they had all of last season.
“We’re definitely experiencing the other side of the coin,” said receiver Johnnie Morton, who caught seven passes for 111 yards to become the first player to have 100 or more receiving yards against the Jags since last October.
Kansas City may have a tough time with a Falcons running game that averages 147.2 yards per game, but the Chiefs’ run defense has steadily improved the last three contests.
After giving up 330 rushing yards in their first two games, the Chiefs— allowing 126.4 per game in 2004—have allowed an average of 85.7 and not a single 100-yard rusher.