Giants Topple Cowboys

Tiki Barber and Steve Christie led the New York Giants to a 26-10 win over NFC East rival Dallas Sunday afternoon at Texas Stadium.

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 Cowboys.

"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 contributor."

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 game."

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."

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