Giants 17, Cardinals 10

The New York Giants aren't exactly overwhelming the lesser foes of the NFC East. They're doing just enough to win.

Tiki Barber rushed for 118 yards in 19 carries, and Kerry Collins threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Ike Hilliard in the first half, then the Giants held off the Arizona Cardinals 17-10 Sunday.

The struggling victory came a week after New York had to rally to beat Dallas in overtime.

``As good as we feel after this game, we have to realize we left a lot of points on the field,'' Barber said. ``When we play some of the better teams later this year, when we go down and don't score from the 2-yard line, it's going to cost us.''

The Giants failed to take advantage of good field position most of the warm afternoon, but coach Jim Fassel preferred to look at the positive.

``I think we had about 182 yards rushing (actually 186),'' Fassel said. ``We did some things better. Our coverage team was better. The most important thing is you come down here and get a win.''

Barber entered the game with 190 yards for the season.

``I feel like I am in the rhythm now with the offensive line,'' he said. ``They did a great job leading me.''

Michael Strahan had the biggest play with his 15th sack of the season, tying his career best.

He batted the ball out of Jake Plummer's hands to stop an Arizona scoring threat, setting off a wild play that led to New York's second touchdown.

Trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, Arizona drove to New York's 7-yard line. On third-and-goal, Plummer went back to pass and was hit by Strahan, who knocked the ball loose with his left hand.

``I just got back there and went to take him down and somehow just punched the ball out,'' Strahan said. ``That was something that just happened. It's not like I planned to do it.''

The ball bounded up the field 21 yards before defensive end Kenny Holmes scooped it up.

``It was nice to see the ball rolling,'' Fassel said. ``Michael did a nice job of knocking the ball out and holding Plummer down.''

As Holmes was about to be tackled, he tossed the ball back to linebacker Mike Barrow, who rambled to the Cardinals' 21.

``I don't know who ran those guys down,'' Strahan said, ``but it better not have been linemen.''

Plummer said his primary receiver, Thomas Jones, ``got held real bad'' on the play.

``I was just trying to shuffle back getting ready to throw it out of the end zone and Strahan came in and hit it out of my hand,'' Plummer said. ``As a quarterback, you've got to put two hands on the ball, especially down there.''

Strahan needs seven sacks in the remaining seven games to tie the league record of 22 set by Mark Gastineau of the New York Jets in 1984.

After the turnover, Collins threw the touchdown pass to Hilliard to put the Giants up 14-0 with 7:40 left in the first half.

David Boston tied his career best with nine catches for 137 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown pass from Plummer that cut the lead to 14-7 with 4:35 left in the first half.

With four consecutive 100-yard receiving games, Boston tied a Cardinals record set by Rob Moore in 1997.

The Cardinals have scored a total of 20 points in three consecutive losses.

``I've said this for three weeks,'' coach Dave McGinnis said. ``When you get a chance to score in this league, especially teams in this division, you'd better score.''

Arizona drove from its 10 to the Giants' 39 in the fourth quarter, but Plummer overthrew MarTay Jenkins on fourth-and-4 with 4:11 left.

``Right now we're not on the same page,'' Cardinals running back Michael Pittman said. ``If we were, we'd be scoring 35 points a game.''