Vikings: 24, Giants 21

Fast facts Giants record: 6-3 This time last year: 5-4 Time of game: 3:22 Attendance: 78,637 Stat worth noting: The Vikings became the first team in NFL history to return a kickoff, punt and interception for a TD in the same game.

Stat worth noting II: Eleven first downs and 137 total yards were more than enough for Minnesota, as the Giants defense played basically perfect for 59 minutes.

Turning point: Eli Manning spiking the ball with 1:25 to play. While the Giants, who were out of timeouts, still scored to tie the game, they left the Vikings with too much time on the clock. The rest is history.

Play to remember: The Giants were desperate for a shot in the arm and punt returner Chad Morton provided it. He fielded a Chris Kluwe punt late in the first half and took off up the left sideline. He used a huge Sean Berton block on Kluwe and gained 55 yards before finally being corralled by Vikes LB Dontarrious Thomas.

Play to forget: Eli Manning's first quarter troubles spilled over into the second period. On the first play of the second quarter from the Vikings 11, Manning had his poor pass intended for Plaxico Burress jumped by Darren Sharper. The veteran Vikings safety picked off the pass, his second of three in the game, ran circles around Manning's futile tackle attempt and returned the ball 92 yards for the game's first touchdown. It sure looked like Sharper knew what Manning was going to do before he did it.

By the numbers

1: Number of rushing first downs by the Vikings during the entire game.

6: Total yards of offense for the Vikings in the game's first half, when they had a 7-6 lead.

11:10: The edge in time of possession in the Giants favor. Needless to say, it didn't matter.

41: Yards needed by Minnesota to convert a third down midway through the third period. They got two.

What they said

"A very poor performance by our team to be in the situation that we are in. Just beyond belief that we would play that poorly. That was not anywhere near close to the kind of football that we teach or talk about." – Giants coach Tom Coughlin

"We hung together. We have had a lot of crap going on and a lot of people bailing out on us, but the guys have hung together. We're getting better and growing up as a football team." – Vikings coach Mike Tice

What went right

It appeared the Giants got a huge break late in the third quarter when Tom Coughlin's challenge of an apparent Eli Manning fumble was overturned in New York's favor.

Tiki Barber was his usual unstoppable self. He gained a total of 95 yards on the ground and another 111 on pass receptions. He also single-handedly tied the game with a three-yard run and ensuing two-point conversion.

The Giants defense throttled the Vikings almost all afternoon. Minnesota backup QB Brad Johnson could never get in a rhythm as the Giants defense pitched a TD shutout for the third straight week.

It was only Eli Manning's 16th career start. As bad as he was, we all lose sight of the fact that he's so young and has so much room and time to grow.

What went wrong

Eli Manning looked like the Eli Manning of last season. He struggled mightily with his accuracy and made numerous foolish decisions. He was picked off four times and very easily could have had a couple more.

Inexplicably the Giants defense fell apart when the team needed them the most. The Vikings were able to move 42 yards in eight plays to get in position for the game-winning field goal. Mr. Automatic, kicker Jay Feely, missed a 28-yarder wide right in the second quarter. The team continued to get bad news, as the condition of owner Bob Tisch worsened significantly before the game.

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