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Giants wrap up East, Barber leads the way
Published January 2, 2006
OAKLAND, Calif. - Plaxico Burress looked up to the big screen and saw Tiki Barber running like mad, and Burress saw an opportunity.
He pushed away a hapless defender, making sure Barber reached the end zone with ease.
Barber and Burress, the Giants' playmaking duo, provided the big plays New York needed to win the NFC East and secure a home playoff game.
Burress had that key block on Barber's franchise-record, 95-yard touchdown run, then hauled in a career-best 78-yard catch and ran for a touchdown, and they both made quarterback Eli Manning look good in the Giants' 30-21 victory over Oakland.
"I think the people of New York are happy," Burress said. "We came out here and handled our business and now we can go home and give those guys one playoff game. They're going to be rowdy."
Barber ran for 203 yards and Jay Feely kicked three field goals, including a 47-yarder early in the fourth quarter to help New York win its first division title since quarterback Kerry Collins, now a Raider, led the Giants to the 2001 Super Bowl.
The Giants made Collins expendable by trading for top pick Manning on draft day in 2004.
"Nothing is ever easy," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin, doused only with water afterward because the Gatorade ran out. "Obviously we had some big plays tonight, and we needed them."
Randy Moss had seven receptions for 116 yards with touchdown catches of 15 and 44 yards for his first multi-touchdown game with Oakland, and finished his first Raider season with 60 catches for 1,005 yards. But in a sequence that summed up Oakland's season, the Raiders couldn't score with four chances from the 1 after getting a first down with 3:44 left trailing by nine.
Barber also had six catches for 60 yards and Burress finished with five receptions for 128 yards as the Giants won the division on the road and earned a home playoff game. New York hosts Carolina on Sunday.