Saquon Barkley, Eli Manning
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

ESNY hands out New York Giants game balls for their best performance of the season when they defeated the Miami Dolphins, 36-20.

Jason Leach

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—No matter what a team’s record may be, winning football games always matters. This was evident on Sunday when the New York Giants put an end to their nine-game losing streak by defeating the Miami Dolphins, 36-20.

For the first time in months, there was excitement in the Giants locker room after a game. The idea that Eli Manning’s potential final home start resulted in a victory marks another bullet point.

The offense, defense and special teams all contributed to the win, but four players specifically deserve game balls.

Eli Manning

Manning inspired his teammates yesterday. He wanted to get a win for them after losing nine games in a row and his teammates wanted to win for him in possibly his last game.

Aside from his three interceptions, Manning played a solid brand of football, completing 20 of 28 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns. With the win, he remains a perfect 4-0 against the Dolphins in his career.

It was obvious how much the win meant to the fans and to Manning’s teammates the way he was cheered when he was pulled off the field in the final moments of the game.

Following the win, Pat Shurmur gave Manning the game ball. Of course, we will follow suit with the first game ball of the weekend.

Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley was able to finally get back on track on Sunday as he had his first 100-yard rushing game since Week 2. Barkley finished with 112 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns. He also had four receptions for 31 yards and showed why he’s one of the best running backs in football.

The kid is absolutely deserving of a game ball.


Sterling Shepard

Sterling Shepard enjoyed his best game of the season on Sunday finishing with a game-high nine receptions for 111 yards.  When Manning needed a big play, Shepard stepped up and represented his go-to guy.

Following the game, Shepard was asked how good it felt to get a win, especially since it might be Manning’s final game.

“It felt good,” Shepard said. “It’s been a while to have that feeling in the locker room. That’s what we play the game for. It felt good to be in here, especially (since) it’s a special day for Eli. It feels good to get a win.”

Sam Beal

With the release of Janoris Jenkins earlier in the week, Sam Beal got his first NFL start on Sunday. He had his ups and downs, as all corners do, but he made the most of his opportunity.

Beal tallied a team-high 11 tackles, the biggest coming in the form of a safety when he got to running back Patrick Laird in the third quarter to put the Giants up 16-13. The Giants would take the momentum of this play and would go onto score the next 20 points.

Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Sam Beal all rake in the game balls from a New York Giants Week 15 victory celebrating the career of the two-time Super Bowl champion.

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.