Bill Bryant returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown and Joe Pisarcik's 64-yard pass to Gary Shirk set up another score today, enabling the flu-ridden New York Giants to damage the St. Louis Cardinals' play-off hopes with a 27-7 victory.
The Cardinals' second straight loss dropped their record to 7-5 in their battle for the NFC's wild-card or best runner-up playoff spot.
On the Cardinals' first possession of the second half Jim Hart attempted a pass to running back Wayne Morris in the right flat but Bryant picked off the ball and raced 54 yards untouched to send the Giants ahead, 17-7.
St. Louis' usually poweful offense was limited to Hart's six-yard scoring pass to Ike Harris in the second quarter while the Giants, who were hit with intestinal flu earlier this week, had their biggest offensive outburst of the year in raising their record to 5-7.
The Giants also got a 15-yard scoring run from Bobby Hammond in the opening period and two Joe Danelo field goals. Willie Spencer plunged two yards on the first play of the fourth period following Piscarcik's pass to Shirk for the game's final score. New York controlled the ball throughout the game and rushed for more than 200 yards.
Hammond's 33-yard punt return late in the third quarter gave the Gaints the ball on the Cardinal 33. New York penetrated to the 10, but a pair of penalties moved them back to the 20 and Danelo kicked a 37-yard fied goal. His 20-yarder with 1:15 left in the first half had sent the Giants ahead for good, 10-7, after Hart's pass to Harris had tied the game, 7-7, early in the second quarter.
The Giants moved 80 yards in 13 plays with the game's opening possession to grab the lead. All but nine yards of the drive was gained on the ground but a key play was Piscarcik's nine-yard pass to Doug Kotar for a first down on the Card 30 on a third-and-nine pay. Hammond slanted 15 yards off right tackle for the score.
St. Louis tied the game less than two minutes into the second period by moving 74 yards in 10 plays, with Terry Metcalf picking up 43 yards in three carries. On a third-and-goal play. Hart found Harris breaking across the end zone for the tying touchdown.