EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) In a season that’s seen the New York Giants’ offense step into the spotlight, Amani Toomer had been lost in the shadows.

Until Sunday’s win over Denver, that is.

Toomer had his best game of the season with eight catches, including the winning touchdown with 5 seconds left, as the Giants snapped the Broncos’ five-game winning streak with a 24-23 win.

It was reminiscent of the last-minute catch Toomer made to beat Denver seven years ago at Giants Stadium and hand the Broncos their first loss after 13 consecutive wins.

The veteran wide receiver, the franchise’s all-time leader in several categories, had seen his numbers drop this season as newcomer Plaxico Burress became quarterback Eli Manning’s No. 1 target.

Before Sunday, Toomer had 11 catches in the first five games of the season, paltry numbers for a receiver who had averaged more than 70 receptions in the previous six seasons. Burress, meanwhile, led the team with 30 as the Giants averaged more than 30 points per game through the first four weeks.

“It’s hard to get frustrated when your whole team is happy and you’re putting up the most points you have in a long time,” Toomer said. “You just have to take a step back sometimes and appreciate the situation because wins are hard to come by in this league.”

Denver (5-2) led 23-10 when Jason Elam kicked his third field goal of the game early in the fourth quarter. But after Tiki Barber ran 4 yards for a touchdown to bring the Giants (4-2) within 6, Elam squandered a chance to expand the lead when he missed a 49-yarder with 5:18 left that had the distance but went wide right.

“It just went down the middle and broke right,” he said. “Usually I know what I’ve done and right now I don’t have any idea why it did what it did.”

The miss wound up costing Denver, though not immediately. Manning (23-of-42, 214 yards, 2 touchdowns) was intercepted by Champ Bailey on New York’s next possession, but the Giants held Denver without a first down and got the ball back with 3:29 left on their own 17.

Manning drove the Giants to the Denver 2, hitting tight end Jeremy Shockey for 24 yards on a key 3rd-and-10 from the Broncos 32. On 3rd-and-goal, Manning dropped back and, with two defenders bearing down on him, found Toomer in the front of the end zone.

It was the second week in a row that the second-year quarterback had brought the Giants back with a last-minute drive. Against Dallas, he threw a touchdown pass to Shockey to tie a game the Giants eventually lost in overtime.

“He’s just really calm, he never gets rattled,” Toomer said. “For a quarterback to be so young and have that kind of poise is just rare.”

Until the fourth quarter, the Broncos had largely controlled the game behind the backfield tandem of Mike Anderson (120 yards on 24 carries, 1 touchdown) and Tatum Bell (60 yards on 8 carries). Altogether, Denver ran for 191 yards against a team that had allowed an average of 101 yards through five games.

On defense, the Broncos appeared to throw Manning off stride with a variety of blitzes, though they were unable to sack him. Before completing 9 of 13 passes on the final drive, he was 14-for-29 for 140 yards.

“They did a lot of things to try and confuse us,” Manning said. “It was hard to get a clue of what they were going to do, but finally we settled down. We started picking things up, getting a read to see who was coming on the blitzes and we got some plays going behind it.”

Despite its overall success rushing the ball, Denver was unable to sustain a drive after Bailey’s interception and it wound up costing them.

“It’s tough because we played well all game and just didn’t finish them off in the end,” said quarterback Jake Plummer (18-for-29, 194 yards, 1 touchdown). “We didn’t capitalize on a field goal and gave them an opportunity and they kept fighting.”


Denver RB Ron Dayne, the Giants’ top draft pick in 2000, was inactive … The Giants, who entered the game with 18 forced turnovers in five games, got their only turnover on the final play of the game when Denver fumbled on the kickoff … Several of the Giants dedicated the win to 89-year-old team owner Wellington Mara, who is battling cancer.

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