HOUSTON (AP) — Michael Vick’s return was less than
Domanick Davis ran for two quick touchdowns early in the third
quarter and David Carr made his own unplanned appearance yesterday,
rallying the Texans to a 17-13 victory over the Falcons.
It was Vick’s first game since fracturing his right leg in
the second week of preseason.
“I think I’ve got my elusiveness back,” Vick
said. “I have to take my hat off to their defense. They gave
me some looks I hadn’t seen in a long time. They did their
homework and it was just their day.”
Vick, the top overall draft choice in 2001 who set an NFL
rushing mark for quarterbacks with 1,066 yards over his first two
seasons, made his debut with 2:14 remaining in the third quarter.
He completed a nine-yard pass to Justin Griffith on his first play,
though the drive ended with a punt.
Vick relieved Doug Johnson, who started eight times in
Vick’s absence. Johnson was 12-of-27 for 116 yards and threw
an interception that cost the Falcons (2-10), who have lost three
straight and 10 of 11.
Texans linebacker Jay Foreman was miffed the Falcons
didn’t start their best quarterback.
“At the start we thought he was hurt, then we could see he
was throwing on the sidelines and wasn’t hurt,” Foreman said. “They
took the Texans like it was a warmup game, and we took it
Cornerback Marcus Coleman had a slightly different take.
“Apparently he could have started. We’re just glad
he didn’t,” Coleman said.
Vick was 8-of-11 for 60 yards and ran three times for 16 yards
in just over a quarter of action.
Before Vick came back, it was last year’s top draft pick
making the first unscheduled appearance. Carr was supposed to miss
the game after spraining his right shoulder two weeks ago. But he
was pressed into action when Tony Banks broke his right hand on
another player’s helmet near the end of the first half.
Carr, playing in obvious pain, led a 63-yard drive on the
Texans’ first possession of the second half, getting 36 yards
himself with a Vick-like run to the Atlanta 22. Davis ran untouched
for a 7-yard touchdown and a 10-7 lead for the Texans (5-7).
Johnson’s next play was an interception thrown right to
Coleman, who ran it back 22 yards to the Atlanta 13. Davis took it
from there, punching it in from 2 yards for his second score in
less than three minutes.
Davis, the Texans’ standout rookie, ran for 101 yards on
24 carries. It was his fourth 100-yard performance.
Carr, who slumped in discomfort after some of his five pass
attempts, completed two for 25 yards and an interception. Vick also
showed he wasn’t himself when linebacker Shantee Orr caught him and
forced an intentional grounding penalty that led to Jay
Feely’s 42-yard field goal with 1:24 left.
Coleman covered the ensuing onside kickoff and the Texans
exhausted the clock.
“We knew we had to raise the level of our play, because we
know what type of player he is,” said Orr, promoted from the
practice squad three games ago. “When he rolled out on the
second or third play, you could see he was ready to play. It was an
awesome accomplishment to stop him.”
Carr downplayed his injury, which appeared worse when he was
tackled after the long run.
“I don’t think I reinjured it, just aggravated it, so it
made it a little difficult to throw,” Carr said.
Texans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer said the Texans
considered substituting rookie Dave Ragone, who has not played yet,
had the situation called for more passing.
T.J. Duckett, getting the start after Warrick Dunn suffered a
season-ending left foot injury last week, had a 1-yard TD run in
the second quarter. He finished with just 31 yards on 12 carries
against a notoriously soft Houston run defense.
Kris Brown hit a 40-yard field goal later in the quarter for
Houston. The Falcons, who led 7-3 at halftime, fell to 0-6 when
leading at the break.