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Falcons ride Vick's arm to beat Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Sept. 25, 2005) -- Everyone knows what Michael Vick can do with his legs. Now the Atlanta Falcons' dynamic quarterback is showing he can win games with his arm, too. Hindered by a hamstring injury, Vick concentrated on developing a pocket-passer mentality, leading the Falcons to a 24-16 victory against the Buffalo Bills. "I learned a lot this week," Vick said. "This is a big game for me, and I think it's going to help me in the long run." Vick had his share of big runs, finishing with 64 yards on nine carries, including a 27-yarder that left three defenders diving for air. But he also showed patience, poise and resilience in taking a couple of big hits from a blitzing defense to spread the ball to six receivers. Vick finished 15-for-27 for 167 yards passing -- his most in seven starts -- two touchdowns and an interception. Coach Jim Mora saw it coming, saying Vick had indicated earlier this week he intended on passing more after being hurt at the end of a 21-18 loss at Seattle last weekend. "Now I don't know if I saw a different kind of quarterback, because when it got right down to it, he still was able to make plays running," Mora said. "But he did make some key plays with his arm. ... You get glimpses of these great things that he's capable of and you're going to see it on a consistent basis." Warrick Dunn, with 97 yards rushing, and T.J. Duckett, with 75 yards rushing and a touchdown, picked up the slack, while the Falcons' banged-up defense held the Bills in check, limiting them to 208 yards. Dwayne Blakley had a 9-yard touchdown reception and Michael Jenkins a 15-yarder in helping Atlanta (2-1) snap a four-game road losing streak dating back to last season. The Bills (1-2) have lost two straight, can't get their offense going and their defense might have sustained a big blow when linebacker Takeo Spikes hurt his right Achilles' tendon in the second quarter and did not return. Coach Mike Mularkey wouldn't speculate on the severity of Spikes' injury, saying he'll know more after more tests. What's also disturbing is how ineffective quarterback J.P. Losman was and how Buffalo's defense uncharacteristically gave up 236 yards rushing -- the most since allowing 270 yards against Miami on Dec. 1, 2002. "We missed a ton of tackles," safety Troy Vincent said. "I don't think we're pressing. But we didn't give the offense enough opportunities." Not that the offense did much with the opportunities it had. The Bills settled for two field goals and a touchdown in three trips inside Atlanta's 20. And they squandered another scoring opportunity in the final four minutes after Atlanta's DeAngelo Hall fumbled on a punt return near midfield. Buffalo, however, gave the ball back when Losman slipped and fell, failing to convert a fourth-and-inches at the Falcons 29. "It's frustrating," Losman said. "I will never be happy or satisfied until I play to a level where I want to play at. ... We need to get the job done." The first-year starter finished 10-for-23 for 75 yards with an interception and lost a fumble. And this time the Bills didn't have Willis McGahee to blame. Criticized for failing to be decisive in a 19-3 loss last week at Tampa Bay, McGahee had a career-high 140 yards rushing and scored Buffalo's lone touchdown -- an 8-yarder up the middle. Receiver Eric Moulds was unhappy the Bills didn't attempt to pass more against a defensive secondary that was down to three cornerbacks. "I don't want to second-guess what they wanted to do, but at some point, we have to be able to take shots down the field," Moulds said, referring to the game plan. Vick was the difference with the game on the line. Ahead 17-16 late in the third quarter, Vick marched Atlanta on a nine-play, 65-yard drive, which Duckett capped with a 12-yard run. He converted a third-and-11 with a 17-yard pass over the middle to Brian Finneran. Six plays later, facing third-and-10 at the Bills 39, Vick scampered for 27 yards to set up Duckett's touchdown. "He's just out there proving people wrong," Jenkins said, referring to those who call Vick one-dimensional. "Making great throws, making plays with his feet as well, he had a complete game." GAME NOTES: * In three games, Buffalo has managed two touchdowns and settled for nine field goals. * Vick improved to 25-13-1 as a starter. * The Bills have three first downs passing in their past two games. * Falcons CB Hall hurt his shoulder in the first quarter, but returned for the second half. AP NEWS The Associated Press News Service Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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