Brewer's blocked punt goes for naught

Updated: October 27, 2003, 10:07 AM ET
ESPN

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jack Brewer's blocked punt in the fourth quarter was the first recorded by a Vikings player since 1989, but the Giants still managed to get a first down on the play.

Huh?

Brewer blocked Jeff Feagles' kick inside the 5-yard line, and linebacker Wesley Mallard alertly scooped the ball. Nate Burleson had a chance to tackle Mallard but couldn't wrap his arms around the 230-pounder.

"I heard the ball being blocked," Burleson said. "I turned around and tried to reach for it, but by that time he had too much momentum and he slipped out of my hands."

"I'm young. I'll learn from it. Next time it happens, I'll pay more attention to the play."

Mallard ran the ball 20 yards to keep the drive alive.

"Unbelievable, man," Brewer said. "That's the way the game bounces."

The last Viking to block a punt was Mike Merriweather against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 5, 1989.

Minnesota had another special teams breakdown in the fourth quarter when Brewer and Brian Williams couldn't down Eddie Johnson's punt before it went into the end zone. The ball took an awkward bounce off the turf past both players for a touchback.

The Giants scored on the ensuing drive to take the lead for good.

CASE OF THE MONDAYS?:@ Though players came in to run and lift weights, the Vikings had been given every Monday off this season by coach Mike Tice as a result of their 6-0 start.

After their first loss, the fun is over.

"This gives us a chance to coach and teach and fix," Tice said. "We've got some fixing to do. We had some fixing to do going into the game."

Without watching film on Monday, the Vikings condensed their sessions on Wednesday -- and as a result might not have been spending enough time looking for mistakes to correct, Tice said.

"Not that I'm happy about it, but it is what it is," he said.

STRAHAN'S SACKS: Mike Rosenthal was playing well against his former teammate, the NFL's single-season sack record-holder Michael Strahan, until the fourth quarter.

"Strahan's a great player," Rosenthal said.

The Vikings were leading 17-16, with a second-and-8 at the New York 26-yard line. Strahan escaped Rosenthal, the Vikings' right tackle, and sacked Culpepper for a 1-yard loss.

On the next play, Strahan got Culpepper again.

"I'm out there trying to survive, and he happened to just run into me," said Strahan, who has eight sacks on the season. "I was happy to be there."

Said Giants coach Jim Fassel: "When a team needs you and you make them, those are Hall of Fame plays."

EXTRA POINTS: This is the final week for sites to submit official bids for hosting training camp next summer. The finalists are down to Sioux Falls, S.D., Duluth and Mankato -- which has had camp since 1965. Contingents from each city will be making presentations at Winter Park Thursday and Friday. Executive vice president Mike Kelly said before the game he thinks the organization can make a decision by mid-November. ... Brian Russell's streak of six straight games with an interception ended, but teammate Corey Chavous tied him for the NFL lead with his sixth INT. ... Doug Chapman ran back four kickoffs for 51 yards (12.8 average) in his unimpressive debut as returner. Keenan Howry, also the punt returner, returned three kickoffs for 59 yards. ... WR Kelly Campbell (calf) was inactive. Others who didn't suit up were CB Rushen Jones, LB Raonall Smith, OT Lewis Kelly, WR Nick Davis, DT Cedric Killings and DE Talance Sawyer.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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