The Bad Apple: Cowboys Fall in NY

The Dallas Cowboys ended a disappointing season by falling to NFC East rival New York, 28-24. <BR>

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 teams.

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 interceptions.

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 playing.

"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 to play."

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