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Vikings Win on Moon's Pass to Ismail : NFC: Key play of 21-20 victory over Saints comes with five seconds left, caps 84-yard drive.

November 07, 1994|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — In the huddle, there was only one voice, Warren Moon's, and 10 players who had no doubt he would save them again. And he did.

Moon led Minnesota on an 84-yard drive in the final 2:44 on Sunday, covering the final 11 yards on a pass to Qadry Ismail with five seconds remaining as the Vikings defeated New Orleans, 21-20.

"When you know you need it, Warren will come in and say, 'This is what we've got to do, everybody listen,' " receiver Jake Reed said. "And everybody listens."

The Vikings (7-2) needed Moon's leadership in the waning moments for the second game in a row at the Metrodome after the Saints (3-6) took a 20-14 lead on two field goals by Morten Andersen late in the fourth quarter.

As he did against Green Bay on Oct. 20, Moon drove Minnesota to the points it needed when it needed them most. Against the Packers, Moon led the Vikings to Fuad Reveiz's tying field goal with 17 seconds left, and the winning kick on the first possession of overtime.

Against the Saints, Moon, who had his fifth career 400-yard game Sunday, never doubted the Vikings would find another way to win.

"I always felt we had a chance," he said, the wrist on his throwing hand wrapped in ice from an aggravated sprain. "It was just a matter of putting it all together, and we waited until the last minute to do it."

Moon was eight of 12 for 86 yards on the winning drive, including a four-yard, fourth-down completion to Amp Lee at the New Orleans 27.

Four plays later, he completed a pass to Ismail in the left flat. Ismail dodged one defender and dove over another for the winning points, stunning the Saints, who badly needed a victory to save their playoff hopes.

"It's hard to describe how I feel after this one, or how our whole team feels," New Orleans Coach Jim Mora said. "It was a tough one. We had an opportunity to come up here and beat a good football team at their stadium, and we let it get away from us."

Moon stole it, actually. He finished 33 of 57 for 420 yards and two touchdowns.

It was the most attempts of his career, surpassing the 56 passes he threw against Dallas on Nov. 10, 1991.

His heroics this time kept Minnesota two games ahead of the Packers in the NFC Central after Green Bay defeated Detroit.

The 3-6 start is the Saints' worst since 1985, and New Orleans is in danger of missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year, something the Saints haven't done since 1988-89.

The Vikings, meanwhile, are off to their second 7-2 start in three years under Coach Dennis Green.

Cris Carter had 12 catches for 151 yards for Minnesota, and Reed had eight catches for 157, including a 59-yarder to set up the Vikings' first touchdown late in the second quarter.

For New Orleans, Jim Everett was 24 of 36 for 256 yards and two touchdowns.

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