Giants 26

(4-1, 2-1 away)

Cowboys 10

(2-2, 1-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, October 10, 2004


1 2 3 4 T
NYG 3 3 7 1326
DAL 0 10 0 010

Giants take win streak into bye week

IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Bill Parcells knew the game was getting away from the Dallas Cowboys. Yet he thought one jolt could put them back in control.

So with Dallas down only six points and more than 10 minutes left, he made a huge gamble: Going for it on fourth-and-1 from the Cowboys' 43.


The New York Giants expected a pass and perfectly defended a short throw to fullback Darian Barnes, helping them build on their momentum -- and the lead.

A field goal on the ensuing drive sent the Giants to a 26-10 victory, ending Dallas' modest two-game winning streak and giving the Cowboys a tough early season loss to a division foe.

"This is definitely a game that hurts," safety Tony Dixon said. "And it will for a while."

Parcells blamed himself for the fourth-down failure, as well as a miss on fourth-and-inches from the New York 5 in the first quarter.

However, he noted that he wouldn't have had to try creating momentum if Dallas (2-2) had played better -- like not commiting 11 penalties or squandering a 2-minute drill before halftime with a fumble that led to a field goal for the Giants.

"We're just stupid," Parcells said. "We're just dumb."

The Cowboys regained their running game, but lost their passing attack. The defense went from doing a nice job early on Tiki Barber to seeing him pull off a key 58-yard run and a back-breaking 55-yard reception.

Barber finished with 122 yards rushing and the first rushing TD against Dallas in 28 quarters. Steve Christie added four field goals, sending New York (4-1) to its fourth straight win, matching its season total from last season.

Going into the bye week, the Giants could be celebrating -- if only tough-to-please coach Tom Coughlin would let them.

"It's nice to be where we are, but we haven't done anything yet," Barber said. "We just have to continue to improve and make strides."

The Cowboys opened the game by showing how much they improved their running game during the bye week.

Eddie George, ReShard Lee and Richie Anderson all had their longest gains of the season before halftime and the team had its season-best total by the end of the third quarter.

But Dallas didn't have much to show for it, in part because quarterback Vinny Testaverde was just 15-of-24 for 126 yards. The lone highlight was a 7-yard touchdown to Keyshawn Johnson.

Johnson was 0-for-1 passing, too. Perhaps the failure of the gimmick play should've been a sign this wasn't going to be the Cowboys' day.

"We just need to strive to play a complete game," said George, who finished with 75 of the team's 166 yards rushing.

The game began going New York's way midway through the third quarter, when a questionable roughing-the-punter penalty gave the Giants a fresh start from their 28.

Jeff Feagles drew the flag by dropping his leg on top of Dallas' Keith Davis, who was crouching to avoid contact. Feagles fell, then got up and complained, helping convince officials he'd been decked.

"It's my fault for being too close to him," Davis said. "I think that play right there cost us the game."

Actually, the next play hurt just as much.

Barber had just 26 yards on 10 carries at that point, but came back with his long burst down the left sideline. Two personal fouls against the Cowboys kept the drive alive and Kurt Warner capped it with a 1-yard pass to Jeremy Shockey, putting New York up 13-10.

Dallas answered by reaching the Giants' 27, then a sack forced Billy Cundiff to try a 52-yard field goal, which he missed. New York turned it into a 47-yarder by Christie.

Then came Parcells' big decision.

"He showed some confidence in us and we let him down," Testaverde said.

New York coach Tom Coughlin spent three years working for Parcells. His knowledge of his former boss may have paid off there as his defense spread the field instead of packing the middle, as it did on the first try -- a run, like the Giants were expecting.

"It's almost an insult to our defense when guys go for it on fourth down," New York defensive end Michael Strahan said.

Christie capped the ensuing possession with a 26-yarder, making him 4-for-4 after an ugly three-miss performance the previous week.

Barber put the game away on the next drive, first with his long reception on third-and-10, then with his TD run. ^Notes: Dallas WR Antonio Bryant (leg) was hurt on one of the final plays, but there was no immediate update. CB Bruce Thornton, who was making his NFL debut, may have sustained a season-ending knee injury. .. At halftime, Rayfield Wright and Cliff Harris were inducted into the Cowboys' Ring of Honor. ... Coughlin is now 2-3 against Parcells. ... Testaverde passed Joe Montana for sixth place on the career completions list with 3,415, and tied Sonny Jurgensen for ninth place on the TD list with his 255th.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

nygTD3:20Tiki Barber, 3 yd run2510
nygFG0:05Steve Christie 10 yd Field Goal610
nygFG6:34Steve Christie 10 yd Field Goal1910
nygFG12:09Steve Christie 10 yd Field Goal1610
nygFG5:06Steve Christie 10 yd Field Goal30
dalFG2:00Billy Cundiff 10 yd Field Goal310