ATLANTA - For one possession, Michael Vick looked like any other Atlanta Falcons quarterback the past two seasons.
After two handoffs and one incomplete screen pass, Vick was back on the sideline - but having survived his first taste of NFL game action, he was smiling.
Vick's first-game nerves settled, the first pick in this year's NFL draft returned to complete each of his three passes in his next possession, moving the Falcons to a field goal drive that was the highlight of his much-anticipated debut last night. The Pittsburgh Steelers rallied to beat the Falcons, 17-16, in the preseason opener.
After starter Chris Chandler drove the team 74 yards for a touchdown to open the game, Vick took over on the second series of plays and endured the conservative series of calls. Then coach Dan Reeves gave the top draft pick more freedom, and the unleashed Vick delivered.
Showing patience, Vick stood in the pocket and allowed screen plays to develop for back-to-back gains of 22 and 17 yards. Vick then had fans buzzing when he zipped a perfect pass to Terance Mathis for 24 yards at the Pittsburgh 12.
Vick played an uneventful third quarter, finishing the night 5-for-8 passing for 75 yards. He was sacked once for a loss of 10 yards and added two carries for 12 yards.
"I was a little nervous at first, which is to be expected," Vick said. "But after the first drive, I started to feel good. ... I was pleased with some of the reads I was able to make."
Said Reeves: "He made some good throws and he had control of the huddle. He settled down a little bit and looked really good."