November 17, 2002
(Atlanta-AP) -- Michael Vick flew through the air, somehow managing to stick the ball across the goal line before he went tumbling out of bounds. Maybe he is Superman. And what about that Atlanta Falcons defense? It's not so bad, either. Vick passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while the Falcons slowed down the New Orleans Saints' offense to win 24-to-17 this afternoon in the Georgia Dome.
Atlanta (6-3-1) extended its unbeaten streak to six and crept within a half-game of New Orleans (7-3) in the NFC South, beating the Saints for the second time in four weeks. The Falcons also sent a strong message to Saints receiver Joe Horn, who boasted during the week that Atlanta was lucky to win the first meeting, 37-to-35, on a field goal as time ran out. Horn had said, "Michael Vick can't make them a Super Bowl contender. Not now, not this year." Sorry, Joe, but maybe he can.
The Falcons haven't lost since an October sixth defeat against Tampa Bay dropped them to 1-and-3. Since then, they are 5-0-and-1, the only blemish being last week's 34-all tie against Pittsburgh. Even that outcome felt like a win, since Atlanta rallied from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Vick put on another dazzling performance before a raucous crowd of 70,382, the second-largest turnout in Falcons history.
The most spectacular play came in the third quarter. On third-and-goal from the New Orleans seven, Vick took a shotgun snap, tucked the ball under right arm and took off running for the right corner. With several Saints defenders closing in, he didn't appear to have room to reach the end zone. Not so fast. Vick switched the ball to his left hand, planted his right foot at the two, just inches from the boundary, and launched his body toward the goal line. Somehow, he managed to stick the ball across before a defender sent him sprawling out of bounds. The spectacular play gave Atlanta a 14-to-0 lead.