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Vick, Crumpler seek to beat Lions again

Oct 31, 2006 - 8:45 PM Atlanta (5-2) at Detroit (1-6) Sunday 1:00 pm EST

DETROIT (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Falcons ended the Steve Mariucci era. Rod Marinelli has to deal with Michael Vick on Sunday.

Vick and the Falcons visit Ford Field for the second time in as many seasons when they face the Detroit Lions.

Last Thanksgiving, Vick connected with tight end Alge Crumpler on a pair of touchdowns and the Falcons rushed for 256 yards in a 27-7 victory here.

The NFL's fastest quarterback, Vick directed scoring drives on five of Atlanta's first eight possessions. He accounted for 203 yards - completing 12-of-22 passes for 146 yards and running six times for 57 yards before leaving in the fourth quarter.

As usual, Crumpler was Vick's favorite target, catching seven passes for 104 yards, including touchdowns of six and 32 yards.

Warrick Dunn led the running game with 116 yards on just 17 carries.

That turned out to be the last game for Mariucci, who was fired as coach just four days after the loss and replaced by interim Dick Jauron. Joey Harrington and Jeff Garcia were the quarterbacks then for the Lions

Now Marinelli is in charge and Jon Kitna is at quarterback, but Detroit is in last place in the NFC North with a 1-6 record.

Kitna has a quarterback rating of 84.0, completing more than 55 percent of the passes for 1,199 yards and 10 touchdowns with five interceptions.

Kitna may have to put up plenty of points on Sunday because Vick and the Falcons are on a roll. Also, the Lions will have difficulty stopping the run without their starting defensive tackles Shaun Rogers (suspension) and Shaun Cody (knee injury). Two weeks ago before their bye, the Lions yielded 221 yards on the ground in a 31-24 loss to the New York Jets.

The Falcons have been the NFL's best rushing team in the league for the last three years, thanks to the scrambling ability of Vick.

Often criticized for being inaccurate with his passes, Vick has displayed pinpoint precision over the last two weeks, throwing for seven touchdowns in wins over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Vick had never passed for more than two touchdowns in a game before tossing four in a 41-38 overtime victory over Pittsburgh. Last week, he completed 20-of-28 passes for 291 yards and three scores and also rushed for 55 yards in a 29-27 win at Cincinnati.

Crumpler caught three touchdown passes in the win over Pittsburgh and had four receptions for 72 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown, at Cincinnati.

The Falcons will again be without Pro Bowl end John Abraham, who remains sidelined following abdominal surgery.

Atlanta recorded five sacks in the win here last season. End Patrick Kerney and tackle Rod Coleman each had 1 1/2.

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