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Barber rushes for season-high 185 yards, Giants beat Falcons

Oct 15, 2006 - 8:14 PM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Tiki Barber stole the spotlight from quarterbacks Michael Vick and Eli Manning.

Barber rushed for a season-high 185 yards and the New York Giants sacked the speedy Vick seven times in a 27-14 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Second in the NFL with 1,860 rushing yards last season, including three 200-yard games, Barber broke off nine runs of at least 12 yards against the Falcons, who were allowing just 69.3 rushing yards per game. Barber's previous season high was 123 yards against Washington last week.

Atlanta (3-2) entered as the NFL's top rushing team and produced 223 yards on the ground against New York.

Thanks to Barber, the Giants (3-2) surpassed that total with 259 rushing yards.

"We did some misdirection to take advantage of the speed of their linebackers," said Barber, who increased his season rushing total to 533 yards. "They have a very good defense, so we have to give our coaching staff a lot of credit for that."

Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey also enjoyed a memorable day, catching two touchdowns in a game for the first time in his career.

"I practice hard every week and I expect to have games like this, not just one," Shockey said. "I expect to have a lot of games like this and that's the expectations I put on myself and the team. I want to be involved. I want the ball in every situation."

This was the second matchup between Vick, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft, and Manning, the first pick in the 2004 draft. Vick threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for 104 yards in the first meeting - a 14-10 victory at Giants Stadium on November 21, 2004.

But the rematch was a painful experience for Vick, who had never been sacked more than five times in a game before Sunday. Vick did score on a 22-yard run in the second quarter for his 21st career rushing touchdown, but also fumbled four times, losing one, and completed only 14-of-27 passes for 154 yards with an interception.

"They put pressure on us from the edges," Vick said. "They didn't blitz too much. They just challenged us man-on-man up front. Everything they did was pretty basic. It was pretty vanilla. It was about our execution."

Defensive end Osi Umenyiora and linebacker Brandon Short each had two sacks and rookie defensive tackle Barry Cofield added 1 1/2 sacks for the Giants.

"Michael Vick is arguably the most explosive player in football," Short said. "We had a game plan today and we executed it very well."

Warrick Dunn stunned New York when he set a franchise record with a 90-yard touchdown run just 3:07 into the third quarter, giving the Falcons a 14-3 lead.

But the Giants dominated thereafter, scoring 24 points on their next four possessions.

Barber broke off runs of 29 and 16 yards to start a nine-play, 84-yard scoring drive. Safety Lawyer Milloy was penalized 25 yards for pass interference before Brandon Jacobs scored on a two-yard run with 7:50 left in the third quarter, pulling the Giants within 14-10.

"Tiki got us going with those runs after their touchdown and then we started to control the tempo of the game," said Manning, who was 17-of-30 for 180 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. "The play-action started to open up more because Tiki hurt them with some long runs."

New York took the lead for good when Manning hit Shockey with a two-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter. That capped an 11-play, 91-yard drive which featured three catches by Shockey for 37 yards.

"He (Shockey) made some big plays," Manning said. "He had been banged up (with a sore ankle), but he had a great week of practice and is back at full speed. That's just another weapon for our offense."

Former Falcon Jay Feely kicked a 39-yard field goal with 11:04 left in the fourth quarter and Shockey caught a four-yard scoring pass with 3:45 remaining to seal the win.

Each team committed two turnovers in a sloppy first half. Cornerback Sam Madison had an interception and a fumble recovery for the Giants. Linebacker Demorrio Williams and cornerback DeAngelo Hall each had an interception for Atlanta.

The Giants scored first when Feely kicked a 21-yard field goal with 6:44 left in the second quarter to cap a nine-play, 85-yard drive.

But the Falcons responded with a 10-play, 72-yard drive which Vick capped with an electrifying 22-yard touchdown run with 1:52 remaining in the first half.

Dunn provided the game's most exciting play early in the third quarter. With the Falcons backed up at their own 10, Dunn took a handoff and found a big hole up the middle before spinning off two tacklers and racing into the end zone. The play eclipsed rookie Jerious Norwood's 78-yard touchdown run in the Falcons' last game against Arizona.

"The line did a great job opening holes and they opened a crease for me," said Dunn, who finished with 146 yards on 14 carries. "(Fullback) Justin (Griffith) went in and sealed a guy and I just happened to make the safety miss and went around the corner and it was just whether my stamina could hold up."

It was the longest run of Dunn's career. His previous best was a 76-yard run against Chicago as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1997.

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