EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., OCT. 21 -- Matt Bahr's 40-yard field goal on the final play capped a 10-point comeback in the final 3:21 and lifted the Giants to a 20-19 victory over the Phoenix Cardinals today, giving undefeated New York its best start in history.
"We can consider ourselves lucky and fortunate," Coach Bill Parcells said. "I can't recall us ever being down by that much with that little time to go and coming back like that."
The comeback is the biggest for New York since rallying from a 13-point deficit in the last seven minutes to defeat Kansas City in 1984.
The Giants (6-0) looked like a beaten team after Al Del Greco kicked his fourth field goal, a 45-yarder, with 5:38 to play, putting Phoenix (2-4) ahead 19-10.
"We struggled but we stayed together," Giants center Bart Oates said. "As long as there was time on the clock we felt we had a chance."
Jeff Hostetler, who had struggled after replacing injured Phil Simms, promptly drove the Giants 76 yards in eight plays, capping the march with a 38-yard scoring pass to Stephen Baker with 3:21 left.
The Giants allowed the Cardinals one first down before getting the ball back with 58 seconds to play.
"I was a little discouraged," Hostetler said. "They were covering us and playing good defense. But at the end everything seemed to come together. The defense held and the offense responded."
With no timeouts and 71 yards to go, Hostetler hit Mark Ingram on a 26-yard crossing pattern to the Phoenix 45. A holding penalty advanced the ball five yards.
Three plays later, Hostetler (11 of 21, 180 yards) found Lionel Manuel for 18 yards with 13 seconds to go.
The Giants rushed to the line and Hostetler grounded the ball with three seconds left. That set the stage for Bahr.
"It felt good going off my foot, but you never know until it goes through," he said. "The kick was a culmination of a total team effort."
Phoenix tied the game at 10 just before halftime on a one-yard pass from Timm Rosenbach to Luis Sharpe, an offensive tackle who was a tight end on this play.
"I felt we were the better team," Sharpe said. "We didn't win the game, but if you go into the other locker room, I'll bet there is a lot of respect for this team."
The Cardinals took a 13-10 lead on an 18-yard kick by Del Greco and made it 16-10 on Del Greco's 34-yarder, set up by Hostetler's fumble. Del Greco added his 45-yarder after an interception by Tim McDonald.
Simms, the NFL's top-rated quarterback coming in, hurt his left ankle late in the first quarter when he was hit low by Cedric Mack and high by Ken Harvey while passing. He lay motionless for a few minutes before gingerly walking off. He stood on the sideline the rest of the game. Parcells said he could have returned had Hostetler been injured.
A four-yard run by Anderson gave New York a 7-0 lead on the opening series, but Phoenix responded with a 39-yard field goal by Del Greco. Bahr's 34-yarder in the second quarter made it 10-3.
The win was the Giants' ninth in 11 meetings with the Cardinals, who have not won here since 1983.