Barber runs wild in Giant rout


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Giants are right back
in the wild-card playoff race.

Tiki Barber scored on a 1-yard run and set up another touchdown
with a 60-yard run in a season-best 21-point first quarter to lead
the Giants to a 37-7 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday.

Question on the Cowboys: What's your take on Dave Campo's future in Dallas?
If he's back next season, it's a joke. He doesn't deserve to keep his job. There are other head-coaching candidates around the league who deserve an opportunity (Marvin Lewis and many others). Jerry Jones might have wanted a coach he could control, but it hasn't worked out. It's one thing to be a meddling owner and win Super Bowls, but it's another to be a meddling owner for a team south of .500.

Question on the Giants: Do you see them stealing a wild-card spot from Atlanta or New Orleans?
They have a slim chance, but a team that loses to the expansion Texans probably doesn't deserve a playoff spot. If they win the next two and get in, OK, then they deserve it. But the Giants have two tough games left (at the Colts and at home vs. the Eagles). I don't see it happening.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

The Giants (8-6) moved within a game of New Orleans (9-5) and
Atlanta (8-5-1) in the wildcard race.

"This game was huge,'' Barber said. "Our playoff hopes are
still alive. We have to win out, otherwise all the talk about
sneaking into the playoffs is null and void. Our focus is to win
the next one. We are going to watch everyone else because we need
some help, but we have to focus on what goes on in this locker

The Giants got plenty of help Sunday just minutes before the
opening kickoff against Dallas (5-9).

Minnesota defeated New Orleans 32-31 on a 2-point conversion in
the closing seconds of regulation. Seattle then beat Atlanta 30-27
in overtime after the Falcons missed a potential game-winning field

Giants coach Jim Fassel followed both games, and he didn't
hesitate to tell his team as soon as they was over. The offense
found out first and the defense got the news after they came off
the field.

"At some point in time when you set your goals, you better be
able to grab the carrot when it's sitting right there,'' Fassel

New York has the toughest schedule remaining with games at
Indianapolis (9-5) and here against Philadelphia (11-3), which won
the NFC East with a victory over Washington on Sunday.

Atlanta will play Detroit (3-11) at home and at Cleveland (7-7).
New Orleans will play at Cincinnati (1-13) and then at home against
Carolina (5-9).

"We're going to become good Cleveland and Cincinnati fans,
whoever these guys are playing,'' said Barber, who finished with 81
yards on 11 carries and three catches for 51 more.

The scenario is better than a week ago, when it seemed the
Giants needed a miracle. They still need to win, but they finally
started looking like a playoff team in dominating the Cowboys for
their second straight win.

"This has been a crazy season,'' said Giants middle linebacker
Mike Barrow, who helped break the game open with a sack and forced
fumble that defensive end Kenny Holmes returned 50 yards for an
early 14-0 lead.

"Right when you think you're out and everybody is saying you're
out, you keep believing and things work out.''

Barrow led a Giants defense that limited Dallas to 241 total
yards, forced three turnovers and held Chad Hutchinson to 16-for-40
for 161 yards.

"There's no excuses,'' Dallas coach Dave Campo said. "I think
they whupped us on both sides of the ball. They were ready to play
and got after us.''

Ron Dayne scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 4-yard run
and Matt Bryant kicked the first of three field goals as the Giants
opened a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Dayne also scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter.

A 9-yard touchdown pass from Hutchinson to Antonio Bryant with
1:56 to play denied the Giants their first shutout since their 41-0
win over the Vikings in the 2000 NFC title game.

New York's 21 first-quarter points were the most it has tallied
in a quarter since the fourth quarter of the regular-season finale
against Jacksonville in 2000, the same year the Giants went to the
Super Bowl.

It was their biggest first quarter since a 55-24 win over Green
Bay in the regular-season finale of 1986, another year the Giants
went to the Super Bowl.

The game got so out of hand that the Giants lifted quarterback
Kerry Collins in the fourth quarter and put in Jesse Palmer. It
marked the first time in two years that a backup has taken a snap
for the Giants. When Palmer threw a pass, it ended Collins' streak
of 1,852 consecutive pass attempts for the Giants, which dated to
Nov. 21, 1999, when Collins replaced an injured Kent Graham.

Game notes
The Giants have eight takeaways in the last two games after
collecting 14 in the first 12. ... Holmes' touchdown was his first
in six NFL seasons. ... Toomer now has gained at least 1,000 yards
receiving in four straight seasons. ... Giants CB Will Peterson,
who missed the last two games with a concussion, got a stinger in
first quarter and did not return. ... Barber's nine rushing TDs are
the most by a Giant since Rodney Hampton had 10 in 1995.