In all, New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick only had a total of 39 yards on eight rushing attempts, which included some scrambles that resulted in sacks. But those few significant scrambles that he had on Sunday in the surprising upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers were key to getting the ball rolling, particularly early in the game.
Early in the game, on the opening drive for the visiting team, the Jets reached the outer limits of the red zone on the 20-yard line, but were facing a third and three. New York only kept in one extra protector while sending four out.
Arthur Moats was able to work back the left tackle to get pressure on Vick, but a wide rush from Jason Worilds on the left side left a wide open running lane for the most dangerous quarterback on the run in the history of the league.
He naturally seized the opportunity, fled the pocket, and took the out, sliding in front of oncoming defenders after gaining four yards and a first down. Four plays later, the Jets got on the board first with a field goal.
The Steelers only mustered a short drive in response to the Jets’ opening eight-minute series. They cashed in with a one-play drive on a 67-yard touchdown, and then got the ball right back on a forced fumble.
On the first play of the drive, starting at the Steelers’ 20-yard line, Vick preserved some real estate by almost getting back to the line of scrimmage before the pass rush got to him.
On the following play, however, the Steelers lost containment again, with Mike Mitchell blitzing and going outside of the running back. Worilds started to move inside. The two were not in sync, and that left open another huge gash for Vick to exploit.
He took off with it once again, juking past Brice McCain hard to secure an 18-yard gain down to the three. Three plays later, he found his tight end behind Mitchell in the back of the end zone to make it 17-0.
Later in the game, midway through the third quarter, the Jets had the ball on the Steelers’ 41-yard line, with the ball on second and six. The Steelers were in their base defense, blitzing Lawrence Timmons around the defensive right side, outside of James Harrison.
Harrison pushed inside as the offensive line slid to the right and had a straight line to the quarterback, while Timmons was chipped by the running back, pursuing at about a 45 degree angle.
The pressure from the two linebackers chased Vick out of the pocket, but his superior speed gave him the out as Will Allen never turned around to see the quarterback scrambling. He picked up 18 yards out of the play as the Steelers failed to contain him again.