Ranking New York Giants' Best Individual Performances Through 11 Weeks

Patricia Traina@Patricia_TrainaFeatured Columnist IVNovember 21, 2017

Ranking New York Giants' Best Individual Performances Through 11 Weeks

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    Sarah Warnock/Associated Press

    There hasn't been much to cheer about for New York Giants fans this season.

    However, nestled amid the team's eight losses this season have been some individual bright spots, which might have meant a much different outcome this season if they had been shown on a more consistent basis. 

    If you're feeling the need for something positive about the Giants, here's a look at some of those individual bright spots, ranked in order from No. 7 to No. 1.

7. K Aldrick Rosas: Week 3

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    Rich Schultz/Associated Press

    Before he fell on hard times, kicker Aldrick Rosas' last meaningful field goal came in the Week 3 slugfest with the Philadelphia Eagles.

    That's when he hit a 41-yarder to give the Giants a 24-21 lead with 3:11 left in the game. That would be the last time New York led in a game until the third quarter of their Week 4 contest against the Bucs when they managed to get a 17-16 lead.

    It was also the last time Rosas converted all his attemptsfield goals and extra pointsin a game.

6. QB Eli Manning: Week 10

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Quarterback Eli Manning has had his share of struggles this year, particularly when it comes to ball security where he has had four fumbles in his last five games, including against the San Francisco 49ers in a losing effort.

    Still, give Manning some credit for being one of a handful of players in that game to not only deliver effort but also post his best statistical showing of the 2017 season so far.

    Lost fumble aside, Manning completed 75.7 percent of his pass attempts for 273 yards (his third-highest total of the season).

    He didn't throw any interceptions but did have two touchdown passes, doing so for the second game in a row.

    Although the Giants didn't win that game—blame the defense for that one—Manning did what he could to keep the team from getting blown out as they did the week before against the Los Angeles Rams.

5. DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Week 6

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    It's been a somewhat quiet year from defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who inked a new four-year, $62 million contract in the offseason.

    Part of the reason for his struggles is no doubt due to the ankle injury to defensive end Olivier Vernon. With the Giants not really having a solid third defensive end who can wreak havoc like the starters, Pierre-Paul has drawn double and triple team blocks when his teammate has been out of the lineup.

    One game where Pierre-Paul was a one-man wrecking crew, though, was the Giants' first win of the seasona Week 6 victory over the Denver Broncos.

    Facing fifth-year pro Menelik Watson on most of his snaps, Pierre-Paul racked up a season-high eight tackles and three sacks, his first game with multiple sacks since a Week 12 win over Cleveland last year.  

    The 28-year-old also recorded a forced fumble in that game, a match in which he surprisingly didn't receive NFC Defensive Player of the Week consideration.

    Although Pierre-Paul hasn't come close to matching those numbers since, his performance was a big reason why the Giants won that game.

4. RB Orleans Darkwa: Week 6

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Running back Orleans Darkwa has been a godsend for a Giants running game that couldn't get out of its own way earlier this year.

    Averaging 4.8 yards per carry, Darkwa was promoted to the starter in Week 6 after Paul Perkins suffered a rib injury that would cause him to miss multiple games.

    Darkwa has since "Wally Pipped" Perkins as the starter, running with power and decisiveness. His best performance came in Week 6 against a Broncos run defense that was considered the best in the NFL at the time.

    The 25-year-old plowed his way for 117 yards on 21 carries in the first game called by offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.

    In case anyone thinks that showing was a flash in the pan for Darkwa, he has run for at least 70 yards in three of the four games he has played since that 100-yard performance.

    Darkwa might rush for further 100-yard showings if the Giants stick more with the running game to ensure he gets more than a dozen or so carries per game.

3. TE Evan Engram, Week 6

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    Rich Schultz/Associated Press

    Statistically speaking, Week 6 was rookie tight end Evan Engram's breakout showing. However, you can easily make a case for every week played since, including this past weekend even though his numbers weren't there.

    Week 6 was the first one the Giants played without receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. With question marks flying around about New York's revamped receiving corps, along came Engram to save the day.

    The rookie tight end caught five passes for 82 yards and the first of four touchdowns over his next four games.

    The 82 yards is his career best, but given how quickly Engram has connected with quarterback Eli Manning, it's only a matter of time before the first-round pick from this year tops those numbers.

2. WR Sterling Shepard: Week 10

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Somehow receiver Sterling Shepard survived the great receiver wipeout of 2017 that took place in Week 5.

    Yes, he did suffer an ankle injury that sidelined him for two weeks, but he looked no worse for the wear when he returned to the lineup.

    Promoted to the No. 1 receiver spot on the team, Shepard set career highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (142) in the Week 10 game against the 49ers.

    One of his catches channeled the one-handed acrobatic magic Giants fans have come to appreciate from Odell Beckham Jr.  

    Although he didn't score in that game, Shepard at least offered hope that the revamped receiving corps can do some damage in the future.   

1. WR Odell Beckham Jr.: Week 2

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Before a season-ending ankle injury shelved receiver Odell Beckham Jr., he delivered his finest performance on the field in a Week 3 loss at the Philadelphia Eagles.

    In that game, Beckhamwho had finally started to turn the corner from a preseason injury that cost him Week 1made a mockery of the Eagles' pass defense, catching nine balls for 79 yards. His two touchdowns, within minutes of each other, brought the Giants back from a 14-0 deficit to tie the game at 14-14.

    Unfortunately, Beckham also made a tasteless mockery in the end zone with his choice of touchdown celebrations, which did not go over well with team co-owner John Mara.

    The Giants eventually lost 27-24 as Eagles kicker Josh Elliott nailed two field goals in the final minute, including a 61-yarder as time expired.

    Still, Beckham's on-field contributions earn the top ranking because they were the spark that seemed to kick-start the Giants offense in the right direction.

                  

    Patricia Traina covers the New York Giants for Inside Football, the Journal Inquirer and Sports Xchange. All quotes and information were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.