New York Giants game balls
Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

The New York Giants closed out their disastrous season on a high note by defeating the Washington Redskins, 18-10.

With an improbably victory, the New York Giants avoided being swept by the NFC, and since the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Texans 22-13, the Giants will have the second pick in the draft.

It was important to end the year on a high note especially since this week began the Dave Gettleman era as GM.

The win over the Redskins was a hard-fought team win. But a few players stood out and deserved gamed balls.

Here are the players that earned the highest accolades for their impressive victory to round out the season.

1. Orleans Darkwa

Darkwa began the scoring on the Giants second offensive play of the game, scoring on a 75-yard touchdown run. It was the longest run in Darkwa’s five-year career.

In what might have been his final game as a Giant since due to his upcoming free agency status, he had the best game of his career, carrying the ball 20 times for a career-high 154 yards. After his performance today, Dave Gettleman will have to strongly consider bringing him back.

2. Kelvin Sheppard

Sheppard was the best defensive player on the field on Sunday, recording six tackles and adding in two key interceptions. His first interception came on the Redskins first possesion of the game, as he intercepted a pass that was intended for Josh Doctson that he ran back to the Redskins’ 19-yard line.

Two plays later, Eli Manning would connect with Hunter Sharp on a 16-yard touchdown that put the Giants ahead 12-0. That interception helped give the Giants control of the game that they never relinquished.

His second interception with just 2:40 remaining in the game sealed the win for Big Blue

3. Ross Cockrell

Cockrell had a solid game blanketing Redskins wide receivers. He was credited with four defended passes, had two tackles and had a key interception on the Redskins first possession of the second half

4. Rhett Ellison

With Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram out with injuries, Eli Manning needed somebody to step up in their absence. That person was tight end Rhett Ellison.

He caught five of his six targets for 63 yards and his run-blocking helped the Giants rush for a season-high 260 yards.

5. Eli Manning

His numbers may have been pedestrian as he completed only 10 out of 28 passes for 132 yards with a touchdown and interception. But considering none of the receivers he was throwing to today were are starters and would have a hard time making another team, Manning deserves a game ball for remaining poised both for today today and for the entire season.

This may have been his last game as a Giant and it was important to him and to his teammates to get a win in what has been a very difficult season.

With that, the season draws to a close with no January football. At least the team ended on a high note, securing one more victory on the year.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.