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Viking Ship Is Still On Course, Thanks to Moss

October 23, 2000|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings can win many ways, but in a jam they'll usually look for their biggest threat--Randy Moss.

Moss rescued the Vikings from an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit Sunday with a spectacular 39-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter of a 31-27 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

The Vikings (7-0), the NFL's only unbeaten team after St. Louis' loss to Kansas City, also needed a touchdown reception by Cris Carter, another dazzling fourth quarter by Daunte Culpepper and the record-breaking foot of Gary Anderson.

But to win, Minnesota needed Moss to get behind Bill defenders Daryl Porter and Kevin Irvin and keep his feet barely inbounds while catching the pass from Culpepper in the back of the end zone to tie the score, 27-27.

"It came down to one play," said Coach Wade Phillips, whose Bills (3-4) have lost four of their last five games. "One play, and it's the difference in the game."

The name of the play?

"It's called, 'Moss, go get it,' " said Moss, who caught five passes for 110 yards. "I've always been a prime-time player. I think my name and my number speaks for itself."

Moss also caught a critical 42-yard touchdown pass in a 30-23 victory over Tampa Bay on Oct. 9. On Sunday, he also played defensive back to defend the Bills' final pass, which fell incomplete.

Anderson's extra point after Moss' touchdown gave the Vikings a 28-27 lead with 3:42 remaining. His 21-yard field goal with 1:04 left broke George Blanda's career scoring record by two points. Anderson, 41, has scored 2,004 points over 19 seasons.

The Vikings pulled to within 24-21 on an 11-yard touchdown pass play to Carter, who caught seven passes for 107 yards, and a two-point conversion pass to Moe Williams.

"We feel like we have weapons that can't be shut down for a whole game," Viking Coach Dennis Green said. "But we can't always assume we'll throw touchdown passes to Randy Moss or Cris Carter. It won't always work that way."

Culpepper led the Vikings to his third come-from-behind victory in the fourth quarter. He completed eight of 11 passes for 118 yards in the quarter after being limited to nine-for-18 passing for 131 yards, over the first three periods.

The Vikings also got big plays from Troy Walters, whose 28-yard punt return set up Moss' touchdown reception, and defensive backs Robert Tate and Orlando Thomas, who teamed to recover Peerless Price's fumble after a reception.

Tate knocked the ball from Price and Thomas recovered.

"We were just a step off, a play behind, in the first half," Thomas said. "We just needed to come up with one or two more turnovers to help out in the second half."

Doug Flutie, who turns 38 today, made his first start since last season because of Rob Johnson's separated shoulder. He completed 28 of 43 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns.

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