CINCINNATI -- Michael Vick has found a balance. His passer rating is just as impressive as his 40-yard dash these days.
Vick threw three more touchdown passes yesterday, leading the Atlanta Falcons to a 29-27 victory over a Cincinnati Bengals team that had never seen anything quite like the show he put on.
Few teams have.
The mercurial quarterback has led the Falcons (5-2) to consecutive wins over the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers and the defending AFC North champion Bengals by throwing the ball. Vick has thrown seven touchdown passes in the past two games, proving his point.
"I feel I just need the opportunity to throw the ball," said Vick, whose passer rating of 140.6 was the second-highest of his career. "Just give me the chance to do it. I've felt like all along, this is what I could do."
No matter what they did, the Bengals (4-3) were helpless to run him down or shut him down.
Many of the Bengals' defenders had never faced Vick, who put on quite a show in his first career visit to Cincinnati. He went 20 of 28 for 291 yards and left would-be tacklers scattered all over the field while running for another 55 yards.
Seen enough, Bengals?
"He's a heck of a player," defensive end Bryan Robinson said. "When your goal is to keep him in the pocket and you do that and he still makes the play, that's frustrating."
In the past two games, Vick has gone 38 of 58 for 523 yards with those seven touchdowns and two interceptions, which translates into a passer rating of 119.5. Previously, Vick had never thrown more than four touchdowns in any two-game span of his career.
"He's leading like a champion," said tight end Alge Crumpler, who has caught four of those seven touchdowns. "He never points fingers at anybody in this locker room and is constantly encouraging everybody."
He was so good that Carson Palmer, last year's NFL leader in touchdown passes, and Pro Bowl receiver Chad Johnson were reduced to a sideshow.
Palmer made it close, throwing a 55-yard touchdown pass to Chris Henry that cut it to 29-27 with 3:41 to go. But Vick helped the Falcons run the clock down to 19 seconds before a punt pinned the Bengals at their 17-yard line.
Palmer fumbled while being sacked, ending one of his better performances of the season on a downcast note. Palmer was 24-for-36 for 266 yards in his failed quest to keep up with Vick.
"He's like nobody else in our league - a Reggie Bush-type player," Palmer said. "He's exciting and fun to watch. He's one of the few guys you pay to go watch play."
Chad Johnson finished with six catches for 78 yards - numbers that failed to back up his prolonged pre-game brag.
"Their game plan was to just throw away from me," Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "For the most part, it was a relatively quiet day for him."
Atlanta 6 7 13 3-29
Cincinnati 7 10 3 7-27
First quarter Atl-FG Andersen 42, 11:24. Cin-R.Johnson 1 run (Graham kick), 6:56. Atl-FG Andersen 40, 0:56.
Second quarter Cin-C.Johnson 12 pass from Palmer (Graham kick), 7:13. Atl-Crumpler 16 pass from Vick (Andersen kick), 1:54. Cin-FG Graham 51, 0:15.
Third quarter Atl-Jenkins 26 pass from Vick (Andersen kick), 9:55. Cin-FG Graham 26, 4:34. Atl-Griffith 8 pass from Vick (pass failed), 2:21.
Fourth quarter Atl-FG Andersen 39, 7:42. Cin-Henry 55 pass from Palmer (Graham kick), 3:41. A-65,978.
First downs 25 22
Total Net Yards 420 331
Rushes-yards 38-143 18-73
Passing 277 258
Punt Returns 4-(-3) 2-14
Kickoff Returns 5-79 4-88
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 20-28-0 24-36-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 2-14 2-8
Punts 3-55.3 4-45.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 9-75 4-30
Time of Possession 37:08 22:52 Rushing-Atlanta, Dunn 20-57, Vick 9-55, Norwood 9-31. Cincinnati, R.Johnson 12-46, C.Perry 2-11, Palmer 1-7, Houshmandzadeh 2-6, Watson 1-3. Passing-Atlanta, Vick 20-28-0-291. Cincinnati, Palmer 24-36-0-266. Receiving-Atlanta, Crumpler 4-72, Lelie 3-55, Jenkins 3-53, R.White 3-42, Norwood 3-39, Dunn 2-16, Griffith 2-14. Cincinnati, C.Johnson 6-78, Houshmandzadeh 6-70, Henry 5-81, C.Perry 2-12, Stewart 2-9, R.Johnson 2-8, Kelly 1-8.