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Trust Talent Time

Ramses Barden super sub in return

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Forced to play without the injured Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw, the team’s top receiver and running back, the Giants yesterday needed some contributions from players not accustomed to having the ball in their hands. Ramses Barden and even rookie Da’Rel Scott made contributions in a 24-20 victory over the Patriots.

Barden was activated this week off the physically unable to perform list, and in his first game in one year — he broke his ankle against the Cowboys last Nov. 14 — he caught two passes for 28 yards. The third-year player hauled in a 15-yard pass on the right sideline and nearly scored, trying to stretch his 6-foot-6 frame to the goal line, but was stopped at the 2-yard line.

On a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, Barden came up with a nine-yard reception, reaching down and to his left to secure the ball.

“I was excited, I was happy I could help the team,” Barden said. “I came out of the game feeling I was so excited, I wasn’t limping, there was no favoring [the ankle]. There was a lot of excitement going forward.”

Scott got the first rushing attempt of his career, taking the ball five yards on a pitchout to pick up a first down, showing his speed on the play.

“The most important thing for me as a rookie running back is to make sure you get tough yards and hold on to the ball — that’s the main thing you got to do,” Scott said. “Hopefully they can call my number a little more and I showed they can trust me.”

After keeping his feet in bounds on a 10-yard touchdown pass to put the Giants ahead 17-13, Mario Manningham was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington. That forced the Giants to kick off from the 20-yard line.

“He said something, I said something. I feel like they were looking for a reason to throw a flag, and I just gave them a reason to,” Manningham said. “I felt like it could have went both ways. I was talking, he was talking, I was talking. We were jabbering.”

Aaron Ross has been secure with the ball on punt returns, but in the third quarter he fumbled one away and the Patriots recovered on the Giants 33-yard line, leading to a field goal for the first Patriots points.

A key play on the final drive was a 20-yard pass interference penalty on safety Sergio Brown covering Victor Cruz.

“I saw the ball go up and as I was about to go up he collisioned me early,” Cruz said. “I was looking for the flag.”

Rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara was not activated and will have to wait possibly until next week in San Francisco to make his NFL debut.