Redskins abandon Alfred Morris in run game

Redskins abandon Alfred Morris in run game
December 2, 2013, 1:45 am
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What explains Morris' 2nd-half absence vs. NYG?

With Robert Griffin III at quarterback and Alfred Morris at running back, the Redskins rank at the top of the NFL for rushing yards per game. Running the ball usually means victory for the team, but against the New York Giants, the Skins found few opportunities for the ground game. And Morris had his lowest rushing total of his career.

Morris got the ball just 11 times, gaining just 26 yards. While Morris did find the end zone, he was almost a non-factor in the second half, and he was not sure why. Following the game, Morris assured the media that he was healthy and an injury did not play a role in his reduced work load.

"I really don’t know why we didn’t run that much in the second half," Morris said. "I'm not knocking it, we were in good position to win the game, we just didn’t get it done."

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Morris only touched the ball twice in the second half, surprising considering coming into the game he averaged almost five yards per carry. Against the Giants Morris found little room to run, but generally Morris gains more yardage as he gets more carries, wearing the defense down. Asked after the game why Morris saw so little action, coach Mike Shanahan pointed to the first half struggles in the run game.

"That’s one of the reasons why you probably go away from it a little bit more," Shanahan said. 

The coach added that lack of success on third down also meant fewer chances to get the ball to Morris.

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"When you don’t the opportunity to have a bunch of plays in that second half — like we didn’t — you don’t have the opportunity to run that many plays," the coach said. "You get a couple of three plays and out, and there’s a couple of situations where you have some penalties and you’re in long yardage situations and you’re trying to get first downs. So that’s why you don’t get the number of carries."

With Morris out for much of the game, backup running back Roy Helu saw more action.

"I just happened to be in," Helu said. "There was nothing really game planned."

In the locker room following the loss, Morris was asked if he should be on the field to give his team the best chance to win. Ever the class act, Morris smiled and said he would not start a controversy. 

"You all like starting stories," Morris said. "It doesn’t matter if I'm on the field or not, I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win."

Left tackle Trent Williams echoed Morris' comments when asked about the lack of production in the run game. As a team the Skins mustered 139 yards on the ground, but 88 of those yards came from a scrambling RG3.

"I don’t comment on play calling," Williams said. "We run what they call."

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