1:00 PM ET, November 13, 2005
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings reversed two negative trends Sunday despite having their worst offensive day of the season.
|It was over when ...|
|Paul Edinger's 48-yard field goal sailed through the uprights with 10 seconds left in the game. After pushing his first attempt wide right and having his second field goal blocked, Edinger was anything but a lock to make the long game-winner on a frosty day at the Meadowlands.||Game ball goes to ...|
|Viking safety Darren Sharper. Sharper had three interceptions on the day, including one that he returned 92 yards for a touchdown. Sharper also broke up a key pass late in the game that was headed to Plaxico Burress in the end zone. Sharper was the single biggest reason that Eli Manning had his worst game of the year.||ESPN's take ...|
I thought the Giants ran into a defense that was really prepared for them. The Giants have young players at the key positions and they were in situations that they hadn't seen before. Football is like a chess match and this offense didn't know what to do at times and they were checkmated by the Vikings. The Vikings won the mental battle Sunday and they went out and beat the Giants in every phase of the game.
-- Eric Allen
Minnesota (4-5) entered the game having lost nine of its last 13 games to the Giants (6-3), including four of its last five. The Vikings were also 0-4 on the road this season.
"I'm glad the guys figured out that we can win the game on defense and on special teams," said coach Mike Tice. "Maybe we can figure out ... and start winning on the road, because that's what it takes in this league to win on the road -- you have to play really well on defense and really well on special teams."
Safety Darren Sharper had three interceptions for the Vikings, including one he returned for a 92-yard touchdown in the second quarter. On special teams, Koren Robinson returned the second-half kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and teammate Mewelde Moore ran a punt back 71 yards for a score later in the quarter.
The Vikings also confused Giants quarterback Eli Manning all afternoon with shifting coverages, and the second-year quarterback finished 23-of-48 for 291 yards and four interceptions.
"We had a plan where we were going to bait him into calling certain things and then move," said Tice. "When we did that, we had to be where we were supposed to be when the ball was snapped. And we've had a problem with that this year. But we didn't seem to have too many problems with that today."
Manning drove the Giants deep into Vikings' territory in the second quarter when he threw for Plaxico Burress near the goal line. Sharper stepped in front, grabbed the pass and took off down the right sideline, chased by Manning, who appeared to have a bead on him before Sharper cut back across the field.
"He had an angle and I saw him with his head down, running, and I thought, 'He's not even looking at me,' so I went ahead and cut back," Sharper said.
Minnesota appeared to have the game in hand when Sharper intercepted Manning for a third time with 3:48 left and the Vikings leading 21-13. But the Giants got the ball back and drove 67 yards, tying the game with 1:21 left on a 3-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion run by Tiki Barber.
Brad Johnson (17-for-30 for 144 yards) then drove the Vikings 42 yards in eight plays, completing four passes in the drive to set up Edinger, who had missed earlier from 40 and 32 yards.
"Koren Robinson came up to me and said, 'Special teams, let's go,' which was kind of the right words for this game," said Edinger. "You want to be perfect, and I wasn't today, but I came through when it counted and our offense pulled through at the end and put us in position to get a win."
The Vikings had their worst offensive performance of the season with 137 total yards, and were held to 6 yards in the first half. But the Giants couldn't capitalize despite racking up 405 yards of offense. In addition to Manning's four interceptions, Willie Ponder fumbled the opening kickoff, and the Giants were penalized nine times for 75 yards.
"It was a very poor performance by our team," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin. "We fumbled the opening kickoff, had a punt returned against us for a touchdown, a kickoff returned, an interception when we were knocking on the goal line. It's beyond belief that we would play that poorly."
Sharper now has five interceptions this season. ... Manning's 23-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer in the third quarter gave him 10 straight games with a TD pass, the longest active streak in the league ... The Giants' defense still has not allowed a touchdown since early in the third quarter against Denver on Oct. 23, a span of 208 minutes, 26 seconds, or nearly 14 quarters ... Tice said he suffered a sprained or torn MCL when he got knocked over on the sideline during the game. "Fourteen years in the league and I never hurt my knee," he said with a chuckle. "I guess I was turning and yelling at somebody." ... Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, who made his fortune in real estate in New Jersey before buying the team, was given the game ball by the team.
Team Stat Comparison
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||2.4||5.1|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|TD||0:17||Darren Sharper 92 Yd Interception Return (Paul Edinger Kick)||7||0|
|FG||3:11||Jay Feely 35 Yd |
Drive: 6 plays, 58 yds, 2:54
|FG||11:21||Jay Feely 48 Yd |
Drive: 9 plays, 49 yds, 4:31
|TD||0:11||Koren Robinson 86 Yd Kickoff Return (Paul Edinger Kick)||14||6|
|TD||3:14||Amani Toomer 23 Yd Pass From Eli Manning (Jay Feely Kick) |
Drive: 6 plays, 85 yds, 3:03
|TD||9:33||Mewelde Moore 71 Yd Punt Return (Paul Edinger Kick)||21||13|
|TD||13:39||Tiki Barber 3 Yd Run (Tiki Barber Run For Two-Point Conversion) |
Drive: 8 plays, 67 yds, 1:56
|FG||14:50||Paul Edinger 48 Yd |
Drive: 8 plays, 42 yds, 1:11