Giants' Orleans Darkwa wins Week 17 FedEx Ground Award
In what may turn out to be his final game as a member of the New York Giants, running back Orleans Darkwa turned in a career-best performance, gaining 154 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries.
As the result of his stellar performance, Darkwa was nominated for the Week 17 FedEx Ground Award alongside New England’s Dion Lewis and Minnesota’s Latavius Murray.
Ultimately, just as the Giants had over the Washington Redskins, Darkwa prevailed.
On Wednesday, Darkwa was officially announced as the Week 17 FedEx Ground Award winner, the first such honor of his professional career.
Darkwa’s big day capped off a tremendous season in which he reached career highs in carries (171), rushing yards (751), yards per carry (4.4) and touchdowns (5). The 154-yard performance, as noted previously, was also a career-best. It was highlighted by a 75-yard touchdown run on the game’s second play.
The 75-yard score was also the Giants’ longest rush of the season and their longest touchdown run since Ahmad Bradshaw took one 88 yards against the Buffalo Bills in Week 16 of the 2007 season.
“It was the gap speed,” Darkwa told reporters after Sunday’s game. “Pulled. Made a nice little block once we got out there it was secondary. Something I’ve been telling you all I’ve been trying to focus on making the finishes in the secondary all year.
“I tried to put on the burners, so I was able to get out there and everybody did their part. That was really it. Everybody made that play.”
Fittingly, Darkwa’s performance in Week 17 also triggered an escalator in his contract. Entering the day, the running back needed 153 yards to earn a $200,000 bonus.
Darkwa would like to return to the Giants next season and this undoubtedly helps his chances. General manager Dave Gettleman had to be impressed with what he saw and has to be equally impressed with Darkwa’s team-first attitude and unrelenting work ethic.