- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 1, 2006

OAKLAND, Calif. — Tiki Barber and Plaxico Burress provided the big plays the New York Giants needed to win the NFC East and secure a home playoff game.

Burress had a key block on Barber’s career-long, 95-yard touchdown run, then had a career-best 78-yard catch and run for a touchdown, and they both made quarterback Eli Manning look good in the Giants’ 30-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders last night.

Barber ran for 203 yards — his third 200-yard game this season — and Jay Feely kicked three field goals, including a 47-yarder early in the fourth quarter, as New York (11-5) won its first division title since Raiders quarterback Kerry Collins led the Giants to Super Bowl XXXV five seasons ago.

Collins had a solid game against his former team, which made him expendable when the Giants traded for top pick Eli Manning on draft day in 2004. He didn’t have a turnover for the first time since Oct.2 against Dallas.

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 Raiders’ season with 60 catches for 1,005 yards. The Raiders’ passing game looked much better than in recent weeks. But in a sequence that summed up Oakland’s season, the Raiders couldn’t score with four chances from the 1 after getting first-and-goal with 3:44 left trailing by nine.

Barber’s 95-yard touchdown run helped him move into the NFL lead in rushing with 1,860 yards — 53 more than Seattle’s Shaun Alexander, who finishes the season today at Green Bay. Barber also established a franchise record, breaking Hap Moran’s 91-yard touchdown run in 1930.

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 after losing 35-20 at Washington last week.

Chad Morton had a 58-yard punt return that put the Giants on the 3 late in the third quarter, setting up Brandon Jacobs’ 1-yard scoring run two plays later that made it 27-14. Moss answered with his second touchdown.

Manning was shaky at times a week after having a rough game at Washington in which he went 23-for-41 for 244 yards with a touchdown and an interception as the Giants had their three-game winning streak snapped by the Redskins. Manning completed 12 of 24 passes for 204 yards and was sacked twice.

This might have been the final game for embattled Raiders coach Norv Turner. Oakland has three straight losing seasons for the first time since Al Davis came aboard in 1963 to coach and eventually own the team — and Davis is losing patience. The Raiders (4-12) lost their final six games and eight of nine, finishing with one fewer win than in Turner’s first season a year ago.

Collins, eager to have a good game against his old team, hit his top two targets to get the Raiders on the board. He completed a 16-yard pass to Jerry Porter before connecting with Moss.

Collins was 26-for-48 for 331 yards and three touchdowns. It also might have been his last game in silver and black.

He found Doug Gabriel for an 8-yard touchdown 19 seconds before halftime after completing four other passes during the drive to Gabriel, who set career highs with eight catches for 100 yards. Porter had six receptions for 76 yards.

Oakland Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess, the NFL sacks leader with 16, established a new franchise mark for sacks in a season, surpassing the 1986 mark of 15 set by Sean Jones, who was in attendance.

New York’s Michael Strahan, who went without a sack for the second straight week, cut his left eye when he got poked by Chad Slaughter in the fourth quarter.

The Giants played without tight end Jeremy Shockey (ankle) and linebacker Reggie Torbor (hamstring).

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