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PRO FOOTBALL : Only 29,623 See Cardinals Hold On for 27-24 Victory

December 14, 1987| From Times Wire Services

ST. LOUIS — Vai Sikahema scored on a 76-yard punt return and set up a second touchdown with a 48-yard kickoff return to help the St. Louis Cardinals build a 17-point lead Sunday en route to a 27-24 victory over the New York Giants.

Only 29,623 braved temperatures that dipped into the 30s to watch what may have been St. Louis' final game at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals, who are considering a move to another city, led, 27-10, at halftime while keeping their playoff hopes alive.

Phil Simms, who completed 30 of 47 attempts, rallied the Giants in the second half and finished with 359 passing yards for 2 touchdowns. But it wasn't enough.

Simms connected with Lionel Manuel on a 14-yard touchdown pass in the third period, and Joe Morris slammed a yard to score with 12:52 left before the Cardinals stiffened.

Sikahema gave the Cardinals a 7-0 lead when he took Sean Landeta's punt at the 24, cut past a first wave of tacklers and raced down the right sideline for the score.

It was the third career touchdown on a punt return for Sikahema, who is in his second NFL season.

Mark Bavaro, who caught 11 passes for 137 yards, made it 7-7 with an 11-yard pass from Simms on the Giants' next possession.

But Sikahema returned the ensuing kickoff to the New York 48, setting up Ron Wolfley's six-yard touchdown that put St. Louis ahead to stay.

After Raul Allegre's 29-yard field goal made it 14-10, the Cardinals scored two second-period touchdowns to take a 27-10 halftime lead.

Robert Awalt put St. Louis ahead 21-10 with a 20-yard reception from Neil Lomax, who completed 17 of 30 for 190 yards.

After a fourth-down gamble at the Cardinals' 39 backfired for the Giants late in the second quarter, Stump Mitchell scored from the six with 1:10 before halftime, capping a drive kept alive by a roughing-the-kicker penalty.

Mitchell finished with 111 yards in 26 carries.

It was St. Louis' first victory over the Giants in their last six meetings, leaving St. Louis with a 6-7 record. New York fell to 4-9.

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