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Drive to Win Is Shown Late

From Associated Press

A woeful kicking game, plus a quarterback change by the Minnesota Vikings, nearly cost the New York Giants, but they wore out one of the league’s worst defenses.

The Giants amassed 460 total yards and took a late lead on Tiki Barber’s touchdown run Sunday in a 27-20 victory that dropped the Vikings to 2-7 for the first time since 1984.

“This whole game was a study in perseverance for us,” Barber said. “In the NFL, when the momentum shifts, it’s real tough to get it back. Last drive, we had to snatch the momentum away.”

Kerry Collins completed 25 of 35 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns, and Barber rushed 24 times for 127 yards as New York (5-4) moved within a game of NFC East-leading Philadelphia.

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Minnesota ran out of patience with struggling quarterback Daunte Culpepper, and Todd Bouman nearly rallied the Vikings to a win that would have been due largely to two extra points and two mid-range field goals botched by the Giants. “I’m proud of the way our guys came back,” said Giants’ Coach Jim Fassel. “It shouldn’t have been that close. We left eight points off the board.”

Michael Bennett rushed for a career-high 167 yards, his third consecutive 100-yard game. He scored on a 78-yard burst through the line that gave Minnesota its first lead, 20-19, with 8:36 left.

The Giants, aided by a third-down pass interference call on Corey Chavous, drove 80 yards in 10 plays to retake the lead on an eight-yard scoring run by Barber. Marcellus Rivers caught a deflected two-point conversion pass to make it 27-20 with 2:43 left.

The Vikings had to punt after rookie tackle Bryant McKinnie, making his NFL debut after ending a holdout last week, let Kenny Holmes by him to sack Bouman and force a fumble that lost 20 yards on third down.

Barber ran out the clock with 40 yards on the final possession. “It’s on us,” Vikings’ defensive tackle Chris Hovan said. “The defense has got to stop ‘em, and we didn’t.”

Culpepper didn’t throw an interception but was only nine for 20 for 91 yards. After another three-and-out series in the third quarter, Coach Mike Tice sent in Bouman as the crowd cheered.


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