Barber returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown, then took a short pass 56 yards to set up Brad Daluiso's 22-yard game-winning field goal with 1 second left and give the Giants a 13-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.
The game was 3-3 until Barber's punt return with 7:50 left in regulation gave the Giants a 10-3 lead. But Emmitt Smith scored on a 2-yard run at the end of a 68-yard, seven-play drive to tie it 10-10.
"I saw I was 60 yards away with 20 seconds left and I thought `Just split the defenders' like I'm told," Barber said. "So instead of running out of bounds that's what I did."
The victory was the first for the Giants (3-3) in seven Monday night meetings with the Cowboys.
It also atoned for a 31-7 thrashing on a Monday night by Dallas (3-2) last season, when Sanders returned a punt and an interception for a touchdown.
"We were embarrassed last year," Barber said. "We wanted to hold down Deion and I think we did it. Then we made the big plays."
But the Giants got a scare.
After Daluiso's game-winning field goal, he squibbed a kick and Dallas began lateraling. They got into the end zone but it was called back because on of the passes clearly went forward.
"I was at Stanford during the Stanford-Cal fiasco," Giants coach Jim Fassel said, referring to the play on which Cal returned a last-second kickoff for a TD through the Stanford band. "We didn't get it deep enough and I was seeing ghosts for a few seconds."
Daluiso tore a ligament in his right knee on the play and is probably lost for the season.
This was a game for defense, or poor offense, if you prefer.
Until Barber's punt return the only scoring was field goals of 27 yards by Daluiso and 41 yards by Richie Cunningham. Cunningham, however, also missed from 48 and 41 yards, the latter on the final play of the third quarter, when the Giants called time out to force him to punt into the tricky Meadowlands winds of 10-to-20 mph.
"The wind was trickier than it appeared," Fassel said. "And it was swirling. I thought it was worth a timeout and it worked out."
|The Giants' defense held Emmitt Smith to only 26 yards rushing.|
But Troy Aikman came through late for Dallas, going 20-of-33 for 266 yards.
Graham finished 15-of-21 for 183 yards in his first game back after missing last week with a concussion.
Still, it was mostly defense.
The Cowboys sacked Graham five times and the Giants got Aikman three times as both quarterbacks were constantly under pressure.
Dallas also had a number of injuries, the most serious to rookie wide receiver Wane McGarity, who separated a shoulder tackling New York's Sam Garnes after Garnes intercepted a pass at the New York 7 to thwart a Dallas drive in the second quarter.
That led to an 80-yard drive that led to Daluiso's first field goal. The Giants eschewed a fourth-and-1 at the Dallas 10 to try the kick.
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