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Giants turn it up on offense

©Associated Press
November 4, 2002

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jim Fassel spoke, and the Giants responded to his play-calling.

Tiki Barber ran for 101 yards and scored on runs of 2 and 44 yards as New York broke out of a scoring slump and beat Jacksonville 24-17 Sunday night, handing the Jaguars their fourth straight loss.

Kerry Collins, who had been getting play calls from offensive coordinator Sean Payton, added a review-aided 8-yard touchdown to Ron Dixon in helping the Giants snap a two-game losing streak.

Tim Seder kicked a 24-yard field goal and Mark Brunell threw fourth-quarter touchdowns of 14 yards to Bobby Shaw and 9 to Jimmy Smith for Jacksonville.

But the Jaguars played a mistake-filled game that started with an early fumble by Brunell and continued with three key dropped passes.

Those mistakes helped make Fassel look good in taking over the play-calling for the first time since 1999.

It wasn't as bold a move as two years ago, when Fassel guaranteed the Giants would make the playoffs. They wound up in the Super Bowl.

However, Fassel said he had to do something after seeing his team score seven touchdowns in seven games and 13 points in the previous two.

The defense, which had no takeaways in three games, helped ignite the offense as end Kenny Holmes recovered a bobbled snap by Brunell at the Giants 44.

The offense moved 56 yards in seven plays. Barber scored almost untouched from the 2-yard line.

New York should have scored on its next two series, but Matt Bryant, who had made all 11 of his field goals this season, missed from 41 and 37 yards.

There were no mistakes the last time the Giants got the ball in the half, except by the officials. They ruled Dixon out of bounds after his catch in the right corner of the end zone with :09 left in the half.

Replay official Rex Stuart ordered a review and the replay showed Dixon, a starter after a season-ending injury to Ike Hilliard, had both feet in bounds.

Bryant, who also botched two kickoffs, stretched the lead to 17-0 with a 27-yard field goal on the opening possession of the second half. Barber iced the game with his 44-yard run, longest by a Giant this season.

Barber set up the run with a cutback to his right and got a downfield block from guard Rich Seubert at the Jaguars 15.

Down 24-0, the Jaguars made it a game, drawing within 24-17 on a 9-yard TD pass from Brunell to Smith with 1:47 to go. But an onside kick failed.

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