For Giants fans 4th and 17 is all that needs to be said. This was one of the few games that year that I did not attend, but it was certainly one of the most memorable.
In 1986 the defense was dominant from the beginning. The likes of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, and Jim Burt made life impossible on opposing offenses most weeks, but the offense struggled a bit in the first half. This game and this play seemed to jump start the offense as the Giants dominated from this point forward in 1986. The Giants who had a total of 383 yards in this game, with three turnovers, were leading 9-6 at halftime against the Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota. This was a typical New York Giants football game. Tough defense, a struggling offense, and an opposing Qb knocked out of the game. Tommy Kramer started for the Vikings, but Wade Wilson appeared later in the game, both throwing TD passes that day.
In the third quarter Allen Rice caught a TD pass from Tommy Kramer as The Vikings took a 13-9 lead, later in the third Raul Allegre added his 4th Field Goal of the day to cut the lead to one. Phil Simms then hit Bobby Johnson for a 25 yard TD early in the 4th to give the Giants a 19-13 lead. The back and forth affair continued with Wade Wilson hitting Anthony Carter on a 33 yard TD pass to give the Vikings a one point lead. The Giants with a record of 9-2 at the time would have to rally late in the Metrodome to keep control of the NFC playoff picture. Phil Simms always recalls that on 4th and 17 he told Bobby Johnson to be alert, because he might come to him late. So, with 1:12 remaining on the clock, from their own 47 yard line, Phil Simms dropped back to pass, and sure enough just before taking a big hit, he threw 20 yards to Bobby Johnson down the right sideline for a first down. The Giants moved into field goal range from there, and with no time remaining on the clock Raul Allegre kicked his 5th and game winning Field Goal of the game. Giants 22-Vikings 20. With a great win on the road under their belts, and a renewed confidence, the Giants travelled home for a game with the Denver Broncos. A sign of things to come.