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N.Y. GIANTS 29, MINNESOTA 17

Giants Leave Vikings Flat

October 27, 2003|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings were flat and lacking focus, while the New York Giants were hungry and eager for some success.

Kerry Collins passed for 375 yards and two touchdowns Sunday to lead the Giants to a 29-17 victory over the Vikings -- the NFC's last unbeaten team.

"When you play like a team that's starting to believe what everyone is saying about you -- that's what you get," Minnesota Coach Mike Tice said.

"We never lost that will to win -- the guys just kept on fighting," said Giant Coach Jim Fassel, whose team ended a three-game losing streak and has never dropped four in a row in his seven seasons.

Randy Moss had two touchdown catches and 125 yards receiving for Minnesota (6-1), but Daunte Culpepper threw his first two interceptions of the year and the Vikings received little offensive production from anyone else.

"We just really didn't have it in us," Moss said. "I really don't know how we're going to react.

"Some teams go down in the hole, and some teams step up."

That's what the Giants (3-4) did.

They were 3-4 last year, too, before winning seven of their final nine to earn a wild-card spot.

And then there was 2000, when New York lost two straight at home to fall to 7-4 and prompted Fassel to guarantee a playoff appearance. The Giants reached the Super Bowl that year.

Tiki Barber had a touchdown and 122 total yards for New York, which led, 22-17, on Barber's two-yard scoring run with 5:29 remaining.

Culpepper was intercepted by Frank Walker on the next play from scrimmage, and Walker returned it 18 yards to the Minnesota 17. Ike Hilliard got his second touchdown reception three plays later to put the game out of reach.

Hilliard had nine catches for 100 yards, Amani Toomer three for 96 and Jeremy Shockey three for 81, and New York gained 450 total yards -- the most allowed by the Vikings this year.

New York, which managed only 26 points in its last three games, moved 76 yards in six easy plays on its first possession -- capped by a 15-yard scoring pass from Collins to Hilliard to make it 7-3.

The Giants had 274 yards in the first half and drove 53 yards in five plays on their first possession of the third quarter. They settled for Brett Conway's third field goal of the day, though, and led, 16-10.

Collins rolled right on the Minnesota nine in the first quarter and had Shockey wide open in the flat, but he threw back toward the goal post -- and into the hands of Minnesota's Corey Chavous for his sixth interception.

Collins has eight interceptions in his last four games.

The Giants, flagged for nine penalties totaling 70 yards, finally got some breaks in the fourth quarter.

With Minnesota leading, 17-16, Jack Brewer blocked a punt by Jeff Feagles inside New York's five-yard line, but linebacker Wesley Mallard alertly scooped the ball and ran 20 yards for the first down.

Collins, who was 17 for 24 for 226 yards before halftime, was having a rough second half until he found Shockey for 46 yards to the Minnesota 22 -- plus 11 more on a roughing-the-passer penalty on Chris Hovan.

Barber's run put the Giants up by five after an offside penalty on Lance Johnstone gave New York another chance to convert a third down.

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