Tiki Barber helped overshadow the performance of two promising rookies.
Barber capped a historic night for himself with a three-yard
touchdown run with 11 seconds remaining, lifting the New York Giants to a 27-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the
regular-season finale for a pair of disappointing NFC East
After surpassing Rodney Hampton as the franchise's all-time
leading rusher earlier in the quarter, Barber moved past Joe
Morris for the single-season rushing record on his final carry
of the night.
Earlier in the week, Barber said he hoped he would set the
records "in the flow" of the game.
"That's as much in the flow as you can get," Barber said. "There
was no cheap yardage there. I give all the credit to the
offensive line. ... It's their record as much as mine."
Barber carried 24 times for 95 yards to finish the season with
1,518 yards, two more than Morris had in 1986. Barber has
rushed for 6,927 yards in eight seasons. Hampton rushed for
6,897 yards from 1990-97.
The touchdown run came after rookie Julius Jones scored on a
one-yard run on a 4th-and-goal play with 1:49 left to give the
Cowboys the lead. Vinny Testaverde found Jason Witten for the
two-point conversion, giving Dallas a 24-21 advantage.
A second-round pick out of Notre Dame, Jones rushed for 149
yards on 29 attempts. He finished the season with 819 yards
rushing in just eight games.
"I'll take that and try to work even harder to get more
compliments," Jones said. "I wish we had a few more games so we
could go out with a win."
The Giants also received an encouraging performance from Eli Manning, the first pick in April's draft who had lost his first
six starts while throwing three touchdowns and eight
Manning matched his touchdown total from those games, throwing
for two of his TDs in the Giants' 21-point fourth quarter.
Manning also was able to engineer the game-winning drive. He
found Barber for 23 yards on first down and a roughing penalty
on tackle Leonardo Carson moved the ball to the Dallas 28. He
also had a five-yard completion to tight end Marcellus Rivers
around three runs by Barber.
In his first career win, Manning finished 18-of-27 for 144 yards
with three TDs and an interception.
The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Giants
(6-10). Last season, the Giants lost their final eight games.
Testaverde went 23-of-29 for 231 yards and a touchdown for the
Cowboys (6-10), who concluded a disappointing second season
under coach Bill Parcells. Last season, Dallas made the
playoffs with a 10-6 record.
There had been speculation that the 41-year-old Testaverde might
retire, but he sounded like a quarterback who still enjoyed
"I played in all 16 games. At the beginning of the year, I
wasn't sure if I could," Testaverde said. "I know I can continue
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