Tiki Barber and Steve Christie are rapidly gaining coach Tom Coughlin's confidence.
Barber recorded 198 total yards and scored a touchdown and
Christie made all four of his field goal attempts, including a
51-yarder, to lift the New York Giants to a 26-10 win over the
Dallas Cowboys in a battle of NFC East rivals.
Despite not having the confidence of Coughlin entering the
season because of his propensity for fumbling, Barber has
responded with four 100-yard games - including 122 against the
"I knew I had to prove myself to Coach Coughlin coming into this
season," said Barber, who leads the NFL with 577 rushing yards.
"He's helped me to reinvent myself and become a significant
The versatile tailback added 55 of his 76 receiving yards on a
screen pass when he lined up as a wide receiver on a crucial
3rd-and-10 from the Giants 30 with 5:19 left in the game. That
led to his three-yard touchdown to cap the scoring.
"We run that play every week," Barber said. "(Cowboys safety)
Roy Williams left a big hole open on that side, and I was able
to turn it into a big gain."
Coming off a game in which he missed three field goals, Christie
was given a vote of confidence by New York's first-year coach
and he responded by going 4-for-4, including the season-best
51-yarder with two seconds left before the half. It was the
first of the Giants 26 unanswered points.
"I worked all week on getting better and feeling comfortable
kicking again," Christie said. "I was fortunate enough to have
the opportunity to come back and have the chance to try."
The victory was the fourth straight for the Giants (4-1)
after a season-opening loss at Philadelphia. It is their
best start since 1993.
Dallas' running game carved through the Giants' defense
throughout the first half on their way to a season-high 166
yards, leading to Vinny Testaverde's seven-yard TD to Keyshawn Johnson with 9:24 left in the second quarter - Johnson's first
with the Cowboys (2-2).
"I think this is the first game we had the running game on
track," said Dallas' Eddie George, whose season-high 75
yards led the team. "We just need to strive to play a complete
Billy Cundiff booted a 41-yard field goal to increase the lead
to 10-3, but the Cowboys were shut down the rest of the way.
Averaging over 300 yards in their first three games - second in
the league - the Cowboys passing attack was stifled by an
aggressive Giants defense. Testaverde threw for only 125 yards
with an interception.
"We are making too many mistakes right now," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "We haven't played a real solid game all year,
but there's a lot of football left."
The Giants took a 13-10 lead with 5:39 left in the third quarter
when tight end Jeremy Shockey capped a 10-play, 86-yard drive
with a one-yard leaping grab in the end zone over safety
Roy Williams. It appeared that Shockey pushed off Williams
before making the catch, but no penalty was called.
The Cowboys were stopped on two fourth-down plays, one when
George was stopped for a two-yard loss needing only inches to
gain a first down on the New York 5 early in the second.
On the second occasion, with the Giants ahead 16-10 and the ball
on the Dallas 43, Testaverde completed a short pass to fullback
Darian Barnes, but he could not gain the one yard needed after
an excellent open field tackle by Giants cornerback Will Allen.
The Giants extended the lead to 19-10 on the ensuing drive on
Christie's fourth field goal of the game.
"I was trying to get some energy but here's the deal," Parcells
said. "I learned a long time ago that if you need some
momentum-creating event in the middle of the game, then you
probably don't have a very good team. When you got fourth and an
inch you should be able to make it."
Giants Topple Cowboys
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