The play was so pretty that Mike Glennon should want to frame it and hang it on a wall.
In the stat book, it went as a 34-yard completion to receiver Vincent Jackson. But in reality, for a gangly 6-foot-6 quarterback known to be velcroed to the pocket, it was like watching a kid bounding out of school for the summer after the final bell.
On the first play of the fourth quarter Sunday in New Orleans, facing second and 20, Glennon was flushed left from the pocket by Saints linebacker Junior Galette. Running back Bobby Rainey was covered as he neared the sideline before Glennon spotted Jackson streaking down the middle of the field. Squaring his shoulders, the second-year quarterback floated a perfect pass that traveled 25 yards, hitting the hands of Jackson while he was in stride.
Coach Lovie Smith likened the play to something so creative you would swear it came from Michael Vick.
Quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo had a more contemporary comparison. "I liken him to (Browns quarterback Johnny) Manziel a little bit, you know," Arroyo said Wednesday. "He actually said that to me, which was funny."
Glennon has had some fun with it as well. On his weekly radio, he listed how the comparisons to Vick were evident.
"We're both named Mike," he said. "We're both from Virginia. I wore No. 7 through high school. And we both had brothers who played at Virginia Tech."
In reality, Glennon, 24, has gotten a bit of a bad rap.
Entering the draft two years ago, one of the knocks was his lack of overall athleticism. And while it's true he's not graceful in his movement, his ability to escape pressure, slide or step up in the pocket is adequate.
"I get it, I get why," Glennon said. "But in the NFL, against the most elite athletes in the world, there's been plenty of times where I've rolled right, rolled left and I've been able to get off a play. I'm not the fastest guy in the world. But I can step up in the pocket, I can roll out and make a play downfield.
''As far as I'm concerned, that's all you need as a quarterback. Obviously it's a bonus when you can move around as well as some of these other guys, but as long as you can move a little and create a lane to throw, that's good there."
In fact, without being pressed, Glennon can recite several instances as a rookie when he was able to escape the pocket, extend the play, keep his eyes downfield and fire a strike.
"I think I've always done a pretty good job with that," Glennon said. "What comes to mind is the Seahawks game last year two times. The same thing, rolling to the left, I made a play. I feel I've been able to do that. Last year against the Bills, I had a touchdown to Vincent rolling to the right. There's been many instances. I don't think it's much different than last year. It's probably one of the first times I've done it this year."
Starting quarterback Josh McCown has not shown significant progress in recovering from a torn ligament in his right thumb and surgery remains a possibility. Glennon is scheduled to make his third consecutive start, Sunday against the Ravens at Raymond James Stadium.
He still has a lot of improvement to make. Glennon is only completing 58.2 percent of his passes, with five touchdowns and two interceptions. But every snap is a chance for Glennon to dispel myths, to win over his teammates, his coach and the position for the future.
"For me, I've seen Mike play two games and he's made all of the throws in both of the games," Smith said. "Deep, short, comebacks, the passing tree - he's thrown. He's had to scramble out of the pocket.
''A knock against Mike is that he's not supposed to be mobile. But the touch pass in the (Saints) game, of course, not many people can throw that. So there's not a whole lot of negative comments I can give you on Mike's play right now. He's done a super job with just about everything we've asked him to do."
That includes escaping the pocket with his legs and beating defenses with his arm outside the pocket, if necessary.
"All these comparisons to all these athletic quarterbacks," Glennon said. "I'll just stick to who I am."
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Bucs vs. Ravens
1 p.m. Sunday, Raymond James Stadium
TV/radio: Ch. 10; 620-AM, 103.5-FM