As an athlete, there is nothing worse than being perceived as the cause of your team not winning a game. This is the burden that Washington Redskins’ wide receiver Joshua Morgan (pictured, middle) must carry. During the Redskins’ Week 2 game against the St. Louis Rams.
Morgan’s incurred an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the game. That turned a potential game tying forty seven yard field goal into a sixty two yard field goal. Washington kicker Billy Cundiff missed the kick, allowing the Rams to defeat the Redskins.
Morgan also has been receiving death threats from crazy fans for his mistake. It’s amazing how a Week Two loss to the St. Louis Rams brings out the worst in some fans.
One overlooked aspect of the play that preceded the penalty was that Morgan ran a seven yard pattern when Washington needed eight yards to obtain a first down. If Morgan would have initially gotten the first down, even though the penalty would have moved the Redskins back fifteen yards, it would have been a post possession penalty.
Washington would have first down and ten from the Rams’ forty seven yard line, and could have run a few more plays instead of trying that desperation long range field goal.
That game is water under the bridge now, as Morgan and his Redskins teammates must now focus on the Cincinnati Bengals in Washington’s home opener on September 23. There’s no better time for Morgan, a Washington, D.C. native, to redeem himself than in front of his hometown Redskins’ fans.
He can do this by demanding the ball. He should lobby Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III to get him the ball early and often. The opportunity is there for Morgan, because it appears wide receiver Pierre Garcon will miss a second consecutive game with a sore right foot. Garcon’s injury thrusts Morgan into the role of number one receiver for Washington.
Morgan must continue to play hard, and more importantly, play smart. He needs to keep his emotions in check and make plays that help the Redskins, not hurt them. Catches that result in first downs are a good start, because they sustain drives and build a young quarterback’s confidence. Of course, if Morgan scores a touchdown in a crucial moment against the Bengals, it could go a long way in rebuilding his confidence as well.
Of course, mistakes happen from time to time. If Washington wins on Sunday, and if Morgan plays a role in the victory, what happened in St. Louis will be a distant memory.