American Football: Hampton takes Giant step

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THE New York Giants braved a biting wind that took temperatures to -21C as they beat the Minnesota Vikings 17-10 at Giants Stadium yesterday, and so joined the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers in the second round of the NFL play-offs.

Rodney Hampton, the Giants running back, scored a pair of touchdowns, the first on a 51-yard carry, as he rushed for 161 yards. Both came in the third quarter as the Giants rallied from a 10-3 half-time deficit. Jim McMahon, the Vikings quarterback, was twice knocked out of the game but did connect with Cris Carter for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Neither side scored when playing into the wind, which gusted to 26 mph.

The Chiefs and Packers both won despite trailing in the fourth quarter. The Pack beat the Lions 28-24 in Detroit when Brett Favre found his wide receiver Sterling Sharpe for his third TD pass with 55 seconds remaining.

The Chiefs trailed for much of their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Joe Montana marshalled scoring drives which allowed them to draw level with six seconds left and then win the game 27-24 in overtime thanks to Nick Lowery's 32-yard field goal.

In the next round the Giants play the San Francisco 49ers, the Pack visit the Dallas Cowboys, the Chiefs play the Houston Oilers.