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Vick faces Roethlisberger for first time

Oct 18, 2006 - 12:21 AM Pittsburgh (2-3) at Atlanta (3-2) Sunday 1:00 pm EDT

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The fastest quarterback in the NFL faces the youngest one to win a Super Bowl on Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Michael Vick has proved to be more dangerous with his legs than his arm in his six seasons with the Falcons.

Ben Roethlisberger won a Super Bowl in his second season with the Steelers and owns a record of 28-7, including playoffs.

The two duel for the first time Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Vick faced the Steelers just once before in a game that ended in a 34-34 tie at Pittsburgh on November 10, 2002. He threw for 294 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 38 yards and a score.

Tommy Maddox was the quarterback then for the Steelers instead of Roethlisberger, who was selected in the first round of the 2004 draft.

Last season, Roethlisberger became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl at age 23.

Since then, Roethlisberger suffered facial fractures in a motorcycle accident in June and underwent an appendectomy on September 3, forcing him to miss the season opener.

Roethlisberger threw zero touchdowns with seven interceptions in losses to Jacksonville, Cincinnati and San Diego before completing 16-of-19 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 45-7 victory over Kansas City.

Complementing Roethlisberger was a relentless running attack as Willie Parker and Najeh Davenport combined for 187 yards and three scores.

The Falcons yielded 185 rushing yards to Tiki Barber in last week's 27-14 loss to the New York Giants.

For the last three seasons, Atlanta has been the NFL's best rushing team. That is largely attributed to Vick, who has rushed for 1,900 yards and 11 touchdowns since the start of the 2004 campaign.

However, last week Vick was sacked seven times and fumbled four times, losing one, in a loss to the Giants. He did get his 21st career rushing touchdown - a 22-yard run - but completed only 14-of-27 passes for 154 yards with an interception.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Vick has just a 66.0 quarterback rating, completing 59-of-117 passes for 676 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions.

Warrick Dunn set a franchise record with a 90-yard touchdown run in the loss to the Giants. He has 511 rushing yards this season and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

Atlanta averages more than 230 rushing yards per game, but the Steelers are notoriously tough against the run with Casey Hampton at nose tackle and James Farrior and Larry Foote at the inside linebacker positions.

Steelers Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu will have his third straight difficult assignment. After facing Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez - the two best tight ends in the NFL - Polamalu will go up against three-time Pro Bowler Alge Crumpler on Sunday.

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