Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, right, throws a pass over Indianapolis Colts line back Gilbert Gardner in the first quarter of their NFL's preseason game American Bowl at Tokyo Dome Saturday, Aug. 6, 2005.
AP Photo/Koji Sasahara
TOKYO Michael Vick and Peyton Manning gave the Japanese fans what they wanted in the American Bowl, playing into the second quarter and showing why they are two of the NFL's best quarterbacks.
Vick displayed some of his trademark scrambling in the preseason opener Saturday, gaining 10 yards on his only run in the Atlanta Falcons' 27-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
He was 4-for-7 for 51 yards before a Tokyo Dome crowd of 45,203. The American Bowl is not the novelty it once was, with Japan having hosted the game 13 times.
''I wanted to give the fans something to cheer about,'' said Vick, who left after the first play of the second quarter. ''Just wanted to get the jitters out, and I didn't want to shortchange the fans or myself.''
Better yet, he didn't get hurt.
''Michael had a good game,'' Atlanta coach Jim Mora said. ''I was holding my breath when Mike was running the ball. In fact, I just let my breath out now.''
Vick broke a leg in a 2003 exhibition game and missed the first 11 games that counted, essentially ruining the Falcons' season. He barely played in the preseason a year ago, then led Atlanta to the NFC championship game.
Manning threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Troy Walters at 6:45 of the first quarter, giving the Colts a 7-0 lead. He was 6-for-8 for 36 yards with one interception.
''It was a very exciting atmosphere,'' said Manning, who came out with just more than nine minutes left in the second quarter. ''The crowd was enthusiastic and the players were ready to play. We would have liked to have gotten the victory but we'll learn from it and come out again next week.''
Vick's replacement, Matt Schaub, threw two touchdown passes in the first half and was the game's MVP.
Schaub, who completed 11 of 13 passes for 115 yards, gave the Falcons a 20-14 lead with 10 seconds remaining in the half. The former Virginia star tossed a 3-yard pass to Fred McCrary, who bobbled the ball on the 1 and then rolled into the end zone before being touched.
''It was a pretty good play by Fred,'' Schaub said. ''The ball bounced off his head but he came up with it and was able to roll into the end zone. If you know Fred, that kind of play really fits his personality because he's a funny guy.''
Edgerrin James carried three times for 20 yards, with his longest run 9 yards. The Indianapolis running back initially was not thrilled about making the trip to Japan. He dislikes exhibition games almost as much as he does 14-hour flights.
''James is in excellent shape,'' Manning said. ''When he got the ball he ran well. We expect big things from Edgerrin James this season.''
Jason Wright increased the Falcons' lead to 27-14 when he ran in from the 1-yard line with just more than six minutes remaining.
''It was just a preseason game and doesn't mean much,'' Mora said. ''But anytime we go out we play to win. You get used to winning by winning and it's important to get off to a fast start.''
With 4:02 left, the Colts cut the lead to 27-21 on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Travis Brown to John Standeford. A 45-yard pass from Brown to Montiese Culton set up the final touchdown.
The Colts took a 14-6 lead with 7:48 remaining in the second quarter when linebacker Kendyll Pope scored after picking up a loose ball that resulted from a botched handoff from Schaub to Wright inside the Atlanta 5.
Atlanta drew to 14-13 with three minutes left in the first half on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Schaub to Brian Finneran.
The NFL began playing international games in 1986 in response to growing interest in American football around the world.
Forty such games have been played in 12 cities outside the United States.
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