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Depleted Giants rally past Texans for fifth straight win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- At least it was close this time.

The Houston Texans (2-6) dropped their NFL-high 12th straight
road game with a 14-10 loss to the New York Giants (6-2) on Sunday.
But unlike in past road games where Houston has been blown out, the
struggling team turned in a respectable performance against the NFC
East leaders.

Houston led 10-7 before Jeremy Shockey's short touchdown catch
midway through the fourth quarter.

The Texans were driving when rookie linebacker Gerris Wilkinson
forced fullback Jameel Cook to fumble at the Giants 35 after a
short catch. Cornerback Corey Webster recovered with 5:11 to play,
and the Giants ran out the clock for the win.

It's just the latest in Houston's road woes. The Texans haven't
won away from Houston since beating the Jaguars in December 2004
and have just eight road victories in their five-year franchise
history.

David Carr, who rebounded from last week's benching with a
strong performance, was left pondering what might have been.

"If we don't learn from this situation that we had today, then
shame on us because we should," he said. "And realize that we had
opportunities to win the game and we had opportunities to do things
and we just didn't do it."

Tiki Barber led the Giants with 115 yards on 17 carries and
scored the Giants first touchdown on a 16-yard run in the first
quarter. He started the winning drive with a 13-yard catch on a
swing pass and then had a 12 yard run. The 10-year veteran who
plans to retire after this season kept the drive alive with a
7-yard run to the Houston 12 on a third-and-6.

"Let's face it, we didn't play well today, but we didn't fall
down, we didn't give ourselves up," Barber said. "We fought
through it, we came away with the big win, we made the plays down
the stretch when we had to. We deserve credit for that."

Shockey, who had season-best eight catches for 66 yards, capped
the drive with a 2-yard toss from Eli Manning, who went to his
tight end often with Plaxico Burress sidelined with back spasms.

Still the Texans will try to take away the positives from the
loss.


"We fought for four quarters and we didn't give up and you have
to be able to build off of that," running back Wali Lundy said.
"I think this team is definitely turning the corner."

Carr scored a go-ahead touchdown on a 2-yard scramble with 1:14
left in the third quarter, capping an 18-play, 80-yard drive. He
finished 21-for-30 for 176 yards and no interceptions. Andre
Johnson, the NFL's leading receiver, had nine catches for 83 yards.

"It's the same thing that was kind of tugging at us the whole
year," Johnson said. "A turnover here. We gave them a heck of a
game, but they came out on top."

Houston coach Gary Kubiak was proud of the way Carr rebounded
from being benched against the Titans.

"He played the way I thought he would," Kubiak said. "He
played with a lot of heart. He took off and made some plays for his
team. That is what I want him to do every week."

Kris Brown, who missed a 42-yard field goal on the Texans'
opening possession, kicked a 41-yarder in the second quarter to cut
the Texans' deficit to 7-3.

Veteran receiver Eric Moulds, who had three catches for 24
yards, knows the Texans still have a lot of work to do.

"I was happy with the way the guys stayed in there and competed
and did the things it took to win the football game," he said.
"We just have to learn how to finish a football game."

Giants coach Tom Coughlin insisted all week that the Giants
would not fall into the trap of looking ahead to next Sunday's
night's nationally televised game against the Chicago Bears.

However, the number of bad plays and penalties against Houston
seemed to indicate something was amiss.

"I think we had a little lull early," Barber said. "I don't
know if it was because we were playing Houston, but for whatever
reason we had a little bit of a lull."

The worst play was made by backup safety James Butler at the
Giants 5 after Johnson was stopped short of a first down on a
third-down pass. Butler hit tackle Fred Weary after the whistle and
was called for a personal foul, putting the ball at the 2. Carr
scrambled for a touchdown two plays later.

Butler's blunder wasn't the only big mistake for the Giants.

Leading 7-3 early in the third quarter, punter and holder Jeff
Feagles failed to handle a snap a 38-yard field-goal attempt and he
ended up throwing an incomplete pass to kicker Jay Feely.

New York also squandered another scoring in the second quarter.
The Giants reached the Houston 9 on a first-and-5 play and lost 26
yards on the next four snaps because of a holding penalty and sacks
by No. 1 overall draft pick Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans.

Williams sack gives him 4 1/2 this season and is a Texans rookie
record.

"For us to play ball the way we did today and come away with a
loss is very frustrating," Williams said. "But at the same time
we can't hold our heads down."

Manning finished 17-of-28 for 179 yards.

Game notes
Johnson's 83 yards receiving on Sunday bring his total for
the season to 752 yards -- surpassing last year's season total of
688 yards. ... He also surpassed 3,500 career receiving yards
(3,558) with the performance. ... Travis Johnson, a 305-pound
defensive tackle, had his first career kickoff return for the
Texans. He returned it 19 yards. ... CB Dexter Wynn appeared in his
first game for Houston after signing with the team on Wednesday and
returned the opening kickoff 23 yards.