Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III has received the lion’s share of the accolades for the Redskins. He is having a season that is so phenomenal for a rookie that there is some consideration about naming him the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for 2012.
However, Washington running back Alfred Morris has been just as valuable as Griffin III. During the Redskins’ Week 13 game against the New York Giants, Morris set a franchise record for most rushing yards by a rookie. He currently has 1,102 yards, surpassing the record of 1,063 yards set by Reggie Brooks in 1993.
Morris is valuable to Washington not only because of his running ability, but because of his impact on the Redskins’ passing game. Since opposing defenses have to respect Morris’ ability on the ground, Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan can call a lot of play action passes. That opens up the intermediate passing game, which enables Griffin III to connect with his wide receivers on 10 to 15 yard routes.
Against the Giants, Morris lost a fumble that was eventually converted into a field goal by New York placekicker Lawrence Tynes. That extended the Giants’ lead to six points. Morris was visibly upset, but he needed to put his miscue behind him. The game was still within reach, and Washington needed Morris’ strong downhill running if they were to come back and win.
Luckily for Redskins’ fans, Morris has a short memory. He was able to put the fumble beind him and rush for 124 yards on the night. He also earned a key first down late in the game with Washington ahead by a point. At the time, the Giants had no time outs. That allowed the Redskins to run out the clock and secure a much needed victory.
The victory over New York leaves Washington a game out of the final NFC playoff spot. It also leaves them in the seemingly unimaginable position of being a game out of the NFC East lead. The Redskins’ next game is against the always formidable Baltimore Ravens. While Griffin III has been phenomenal under center, he can’t do it alone. If Morris continues on his pace of ground game efficiency, Washington might just earn a playoff spot.