EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Tiki Barber and the New York Giants’ banged-up defense stepped up just when it appeared the struggling Houston Texans would pull off an upset.

Barber scored a touchdown and accounted for nearly half the yards in a go-ahead 67-yard fourth-quarter drive that Jeremy Shockey capped with a short touchdown catch as New York won its fifth straight with a 14-10 win Sunday.

The defense, which was playing without three starters and then lost Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan in the second quarter with a foot injury, sealed the win when rookie linebacker Gerris Wilkinson forced fullback Jameel Cook to fumble at the Giants 35 after a short catch.

Cornerback Corey Webster recovered with 5:11 to play, and the Giants (6-2) ran out the clock to the delight of the 78,485 fans who were booing them at the end of the third quarter.

Barber, who rushed for 115 yards on 17 carries, scored on a 16-yard run in the first quarter for the Giants’ other touchdown. He started the winning drive with a 13-yard catch on a swing pass and then had a 12 yard run. The 10-year veteran who plans to retire after this season kept the drive alive with a 7-yard run to the Houston 12 on a third-and-6.

Shockey, who had season-best eight catches for 66 yards, capped the drive with a 2-yard toss from Eli Manning, who went to his tight end often with Plaxico Burress sidelined with back spasms.

The Texans (2-6) got a great effort from David Carr just a week after he was benched.

Carr scored a go-ahead touchdown on a 2-yard scramble with 1:14 left in the third quarter, capping an 18-play, 80-yard drive. He finished 21-for-30 for 176 yards and no interceptions. Andre Johnson, the NFL’s leading receiver, had nine catches for 83 yards.

Kris Brown, who missed a 42-yard field goal on the Texans’ opening possession, kicked a 41-yarder in the second quarter to cut the Texans’ deficit to 7-3.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin insisted all week that the Giants would not fall into the trap of looking ahead to next Sunday’s night’s nationally televised game against the Chicago Bears.

However, the number of bad plays and penalties against Houston seemed to indicate something was amiss.

The worst play was made by backup safety James Butler at the Giants 5 after Johnson was stopped short of a first down on a third-down pass. Butler hit tackle Fred Weary after the whistle and was called for a personal foul, putting the ball at the 2. Carr scrambled for a touchdown two plays later.

Butler’s blunder wasn’t the only big mistake for the Giants.

Leading 7-3 early in the third quarter, punter and holder Jeff Feagles failed to handle a snap a 38-yard field-goal attempt and he ended up throwing an incomplete pass to kicker Jay Feely.

New York also squandered another scoring in the second quarter. The Giants reached the Houston 9 on a first-and-5 play and lost 26 yards on the next four snaps because of a holding penalty and sacks by No. 1 overall draft pick Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans.

Manning finished 17-of-28 for 179 yards.

New York played without All-Pro defensive end Osi Umenyiora (hip flexor), weakside linebacker Brandon Short (quad) and safety Sam Madison (hamstring). Starting offensive right tackle Kareem McKenzie missed the game with a migraine.

AP-ES-11-05-06 1615EST

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