Michael Vick has proven to be everything that his previous 12 years in the league would indicate.
While his two touchdown passes, including a 67-yard connection with T.J. Graham in the first quarter, were important for spurring the Jets’ win, it was equally important that he didn’t turn the ball over.
“In my heart, I feel like on any team I can be the starter. As long as it is not Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger,” Vick said. “I am not saying those guys are better quarterbacks, I am just saying that I am confident in my abilities. If there is an opportunity there, yeah. But I do feel like at times, the opportunities were there but the coaches made the decisions not do it. And I solely understood everything that was taking place. It was all about developing a young quarterback, mentoring a young quarterback and giving him every opportunity to succeed.”
He was a pedestrian 10-of-18 for 132 yards with two touchdowns against the Steelers.
It was the lowest throwing yardage for Vick in any start where he played all four quarters since Week 10 of the 2011 season.
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“I mean, we'll have those days. We'll have days where we're gashing teams and everything is clicking and we're moving fluidly,” Vick said. “Today, we were playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers minus Troy Polamalu. You know they're going to pretty much keep everything vanilla. They're going to play tough; they're a bend but don't break defense. They're good on third down. They're good in the red zone and that is why they were 6-3 coming in.”
But low yardage totals didn't matter as it was just enough for the Jets to get their first win since the season opener. Vick made smart decisions down the field and when necessary he stepped up in the pocket and proved elusive with his feet.
“Mike went over the 6,000-yard barrier for rushing yards by a quarterback; he needed [just] 33 yards,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “The guy is a phenomenal athlete who can still run with any athlete in this league at that position. Sometimes when plays break down, that's not a bad option.”
Vick finished with 39 rushing yards on eight carries. His signature moment of the game came late in the first quarter with the Jets driving. He scrambled to the right and juked past Steelers cornerback Brice McCain, one of the fastest members of the Steelers' secondary.
The move sent McCain to the ground as Vick gained 18 yards to get to the Steelers' 3-yard line. Three plays later, Vick hit Jace Amaro on a short touchdown pass and a 17-0 lead for the Jets.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.