American Football: Murray mints a silver lining for Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings and the Denver Broncos won their first-round games in the NFL play-offs, but did so in vividly contrasting circumstances on Saturday. The Broncos won comfortably, trouncing the Jacksonville Jaguars 42-17 at their Mile High Stadium, while the Vikings, having trailed for most of the match, beat the New York Giants 23-22 in the closing seconds of a remarkable game at the Meadowlands.

The Giants led 22-13 with just 90 seconds remaining when Randall Cunningham threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jake Reed. The Vikes then recovered an onside kick and soon afterwards Eddie Murray converted a 24-yard field goal to secure the team's first play-off victory under their head coach, Dennis Green. They now play the 49ers in San Francisco on Saturday.

Cunningham, the former Philadelphia Eagle who was playing for the injured Brad Johnson, had began the match desperately, causing three turnovers, including fumbles on successive plays, as the Giants cruised into a 19- 3 half-time lead.

However as the Vikings began to have more success in the second half so the young Giants side started to self-destruct. At one point their defensive backs Phillippi Sparks and Conrad Hamilton became involved in a heated confrontation on the field, which required team-mates to pull them apart and the team to squander a time out.

"There was a sense of frustration that set in right there and I will deal with that," the Giants head coach, Jim Fassel, said. "We lost our composure at that time."

The bickering between the pair was over a missed coverage, but players said there was also anger over a Tikki Barber fumble.

"I can't think of a greater group of players and coaches," Green said. "We never gave up. We fought to the finish. We did a great job of stopping the run in the second half. We had to make big plays. Jake Reed made a big play, Cris Carter made a big play and we got a big onsides kick."

In Denver the Broncos gained a measure of revenge for their defeat by the Jaguars in the play-offs last year. They took a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, but then watched the visitors fight back to 21-17. The Jags were poised to go ahead when their quarterback, Mark Brunell, fumbled the snap.

The Broncos never looked back and with their running back Terrell Davis gaining 187 yards before leaving the game because of bruised ribs they won with something to spare.

"This was not revenge," the Broncos head coach, Mike Shanahan, said. "We do not use the term revenge. I don't think getting even was the idea."

l Brett Favre, the Green Bay Packers quarterback, and Barry Sanders, the Detroit Lions running back, are the joint winners of the NFL's Most Valuable Player award, the first time the distinction has been shared since 1960.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot