Barber scored late in the third quarter of the Giants' 36-0 rout of the Washington Redskins on Sunday, ran straight to the Giants sideline and presented the ball to Tim McDonnell, grandson of owner Wellington Mara, who died of cancer Tuesday at 89.
"I told him, 'This is for you, this is for your grandfather,'" Barber said after the game. "It was a big day and a special day for me, especially considering the events of the past week. It's something I'll never forget."
Two days after attending an emotional farewell to Mara at a packed funeral at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Giants produced their best defensive effort of the season, forcing four turnovers and sacking Washington quarterbacks Mark Brunell and
Patrick Ramsey five times.
The win was New York's first shutout in seven years and put the Giants atop the NFC East at 5-2.
Barber ran for 206 yards on 24 carries, and the veteran back's 4-yard touchdown run helped him surpass his previous single-game high of 203 yards set against Philadelphia at the end of the 2002 season.
He broke off a 57-yard run on the game's first play to set up the first of Jay Feely's five field goals and had a 59-yard run later in the first half that led to a 3-yard touchdown by rookie Brandon Jacobs.
Washington (4-3), a 52-17 winner over San Francisco a week earlier, managed just 34 yards in the first half and finished with 125. The Redskins didn't cross midfield until the last minute of the third quarter.
"I think we all realized what was at stake," said head coach Joe Gibbs. "We had talked about it all week, the big ballgame for us and for them there was a lot at stake. There was a lot riding on it and we didn't play well. I think we take a long hard look at ourselves, and it certainly starts with me."
Brunell entered the game with the fourth-highest quarterback rating in the NFL but finished 11-for-28 for 65 yards and could not solve a secondary that entered the game having given up the second-most yards in the NFL.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin credited his defensive line's performance. Prior to Sunday, the Giants had managed 11 sacks in six games.
"We had good pressure, and that's where it started," he said.
In a reprise of the Redskins' 20-14 loss at Giants Stadium last year, Brunell was replaced near the end of the third quarter by Ramsey, who drove the Redskins to the Giants' 5 on his first possession but saw his bid to avert the shutout fail when Robert Royal dropped his pass in the end zone.
All three quarterbacks struggled to complete passes in the swirling winds. Eli Manning finished 12-for-31 for 146 yards for the Giants and was intercepted by Ryan Clark in the first quarter on a ball thrown into the wind in the east end zone.
The Giants also scored at the end of the first half on a 39-yard field goal by Feely after an interception by linebacker Antonio Pierce, whom the Redskins failed to re-sign last offseason.
Pierce's familiarity with the Washington offense may have helped, as Brunell appeared to throw the ball directly to him.
"That's what happens when you know what they are going to do," Pierce said.
Flags flew at half-staff Sunday at Giants Stadium in honor of Mara, who was involved with the team since 1925, and there was a moment of silence before Kate Mara, one of his 40 grandchildren, sang the national anthem.
A video tribute at halftime included clips of Mara's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Giants' Super Bowl titles after the 1986 and 1990 seasons.
Feely's five field goals tied a career high set for Atlanta against Detroit in 2002. He also missed his first attempt of the season, hitting the left upright on a 51-yarder in the second quarter after making 13 straight ... Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels left the game with a bruised knee in the third quarter ... Giants safety Shaun Williams left the game with a hamstring injury near the end of the first quarter.