FALCONS Despite injury, QB Vick glad to be back playing
The Atlanta standout will start his fourth straight game on Sunday.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- Michael Vick could have skipped the final month of the season and let his right leg heal completely.
Though the Atlanta Falcons were eliminated from playoff contention before their star quarterback took his first snap, Vick believes he had nothing to gain by watching his team struggle without him.
He proved as much last week. Vick passed for two touchdowns and accounted for 150 total yards as the Falcons won 30-28 at Tampa Bay and ended the Buccaneers' hopes of repeating as Super Bowl champions.
"I'm playing and it's a good thing," Vick said Wednesday. "I'm glad I made the move to come back and I'm glad that I was able to heal. I was just blessed to be put in the situation that I could come back and play again."
Vick will start his fourth straight game Sunday when Atlanta (4-11) hosts Jacksonville (5-10) in the season finale. The Falcons have won two of three.
Vick's return has helped the Falcons to average 165.7 yards rushing in the last three games -- an improvement of 58.5 in games they entered without him. In a 31-10 loss to the Bucs in Week 3, Atlanta ran 19 times for 29 yards. Last week, the Falcons gained 148 yards on 42 carries.
In two starts last year against Tampa Bay, Vick was just 16-for-37 passing for 142 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a 51.2 rating. He ran 10 times for seven yards.
Of his eight completions last week, two were touchdowns. Vick threw no interceptions in 15 attempts and had a 119.2 rating. He ran 12 times for 39 yards and knelt down on his final three attempts.
His most impressive run, a 12-yard bootleg to the right side, came on third-and-five with 4:06 remaining and the Falcons leading 30-14. Though he set up a first-and-goal situation from the 3, Vick wishes he either had tried to beat safety Jermaine Phillips for a touchdown or at least remained inbounds to keep the clock running.
"I think the older that I get, the more that I mature and the more I play this position, then I think the better I'll become with managing the game, managing the clock and doing all the important things that a quarterback is supposed to do," Vick said. "Keeping myself out of harm's way is important."