EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Eli Manning led the Giants to their highest point total in more than two seasons Sunday with his former mentor standing on the opposite sideline. It didn’t hurt that his teammates chipped in with two special teams touchdowns.

The second-year quarterback overcame a slow start to throw for 172 yards and two touchdowns as the New York Giants rallied to defeat the Arizona Cardinals and former teammate Kurt Warner, 42-19.

In the process, Manning allayed fears that his right elbow had any residual effects from a sprain suffered in a preseason game three weeks earlier. He threw for touchdowns of 20 yards to Jeremy Shockey and 13 yards to Plaxico Burress, and showed his arm was strong with a 44-yard pass to Burress that set up a 5-yard touchdown run by rookie Brandon Jacobs early in the third quarter.

Tiki Barber ran for a touchdown and Willie Ponder returned a kickoff 95 yards for the Giants, who scored 21 points in the third quarter to take command of the game. Chad Morton, signed by the Giants a week and a half ago, returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter for the final score.

The last time the Giants scored as many points was Dec. 22, 2002 when they defeated Indianapolis 44-27.

Warner, the former two-time MVP acquired by the Giants last year to guide Manning through his rookie season, finished 27-for-46 for 264 yards and one touchdown in his first start for Arizona.

Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby had two interceptions, one of which he ran back for an 18-yard touchdown to give Arizona a 10-7 lead in the second quarter. Warner threw 2 yards to Larry Fitzgerald for Arizona’s other touchdown, and Neil Rackers kicked field goals of 24 and 42 yards.

Rackers’ second field goal gave Arizona a 13-7 lead that the Giants obliterated in the third quarter. Manning, stymied for most of the first half after an opening drive that gave the Giants a 7-0 lead, opened the second half with a 44-yard pass that the 6-foot-5 Burress outleaped 5-foot-10 cornerback David Macklin to catch.

One play later, Jacobs ran practically untouched off right tackle to give the Giants a 14-13 lead with 12:13 left in the quarter. On the Cardinals’ next series, Warner threw into double coverage and was intercepted by safety Gibril Wilson. Barber ran up the middle for 21 yards on the next play to make it 21-13.

The Cardinals used a 59-yard kickoff return by Reggie Swinton to drive for a score to make it 21-19. Warner hit Fitzgerald for 30 yards to the Giants’ 1 on 3rd-and-19 and then rolled out and hit the second-year wide receiver for the touchdown. A 2-point conversion pass was unsuccessful.

Ponder took the following kickoff and ran 95 yards up the left sideline to make it 28-19, and Manning capped a six-play, 52-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Burress to make it 35-19 early in the fourth quarter.

Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie left the game in the second quarter with an ankle sprain and did not return to the game. X-rays of the injury were negative. Cardinals linebacker James Darling left the game in the third quarter with a knee bruise and did not return.

AP-ES-09-11-05 1946EDT

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