Giants Rip Redskins in Tribute to Mara
Tiki Barber was at Wellington Mara’s bedside to say good-bye to the dying team owner on the Monday before this game. Barber, like so many Giants players over the years, had grown close to Mara, and was distressed at his death on Tuesday.
Barber led his teammates into a packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Friday for the emotional funeral services, which were attended by many former players as well as such former coaches as Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, John Fox, Romeo Crennell, and Charlie Weis. All returned to honor the memory of a great man who touched many lives in and out of football. On Sunday, though, there was still a game against traditional rival Washington at Giants Stadium, and New York was ready.
The most important play of this game was the very first one from scrimmage: Tiki Barber took a handoff from Eli Manning, slipped around the left end, and sprinted down the sideline for 57 yards. Barber’s initial burst set the dominating tone for the game, and it would not be his last. That first run led to a field goal, and the Giants added a second three-pointer later in the quarter to go up 6-0.
Early in the second quarter, Barber cut back to the left again and raced 59 yards before he was dragged down from behind at the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Brandon Jacobs powered in for the touchdown and the rout was on. New York added two more field goals in the period and went into halftime with a 19-0 lead, having outgained Washington 261 yards to 34 in the first half.
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Jeremy Shockey caught a touchdown pass to open the third quarter and Jay Feely added a fifth field goal to increase the lead to 29-0, but there was one more piece of unfinished business to make the day perfect. From the Redskins’ 4, Barber took the handoff and scampered into the end zone for his own six-point tribute to Mara. Barber had promised Mara’s grandson Tim McDonnell, who for many years worked as a ballboy in Giants training camps, that he would score a touchdown for his grandfather. Barber tossed the ball to McDonnell and told him, “This one was for the Duke.”
In the locker room after this 36-0 victory, Eli Manning presented the game ball to Wellington’s son and heir, John. The Giants had outgained the Redskins, 386 yards to 125, and had gained 262 yards on the ground 206 of them from Barber. It was a game that old Wellington would have loved.
The emotion and circumstance of last week, to be able to have my best day on this day, was something I’ll never forget. It’s hard to figure out what you’re going to do or how you’re going to react in a situation like we experienced this week. We did what Mr. Mara would have wanted us to do, which was carry on.
Tiki Barber bid a fond farewell to the late Wellington Mara with 206 yards on the ground against Washington.
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