Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alfred Morris Moves Past Third-Quarter Fumble, Rushes For Season-High In Win
LANDOVER, Md. – Washington Redskins tailback Alfred Morris is only a rookie, but he learned a long time ago the importance of having a short memory.
Morris put that lesson to good use in the second half of the Redskins’ 17-16 victory over the New York Giants on Monday night at FedEx Field. He put a third-quarter fumble out of his mind and ran like his team’s playoff hopes depended on it.
“I learned at a young age that I can’t play mad. Some of the older people I played with in college said, ‘To play this game, you’ve got to have a short-term memory,’” said Morris, a sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic.
“And I just blocked that fumble out and kept on playing, and I knew we wanted to win and it was going to come down to putting the ball in my hands. I just wanted it more than they did.”
The 5-foot-9, 218-pound Morris finished with a career-high 124 yards on 22 carries. He never slowed down, even after losing the football with 6:56 remaining in the third quarter.
Morris rushed for 60 yards after the fumble and salted away the game with some tough runs during the final drive.
“I’m not a rookie anymore,” Morris said after his 12th career game. “I could have hung my head after that fumble, but I picked myself back up and I kept on trucking. We had a game to go win.”
The Redskins needed one final first down on third-and-3 with 1:07 remaining, and Morris rumbled for six yards to trigger an eruption by the fans who had gone more than 15 years since witnessing a Washington win on Monday night.
“Alfred is one of the leading rushers in the league. He’s going to get you yards after contact,” Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said. “Even though we only needed three yards, the ball wasn’t going to anybody but [Morris] and he proved it once again.”
Morris said earlier in the week that statistical benchmarks don’t mean as much as team success, but he was able to savor both Monday night.
He became the second rookie running back in Redskins history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and the franchise’s first 1,000-yard running back since Clinton Portis in 2008.
Late in the third quarter, Morris broke the Redskins rookie rushing record held by Reggie Brooks, who had 1,063 yards in 1993.
“He can make a guy miss or he can run a guy over. To me, he’s a complete back,” Redskins center Will Montgomery said of Morris. “He has traits of the great ones.”
Morris is now tied for third in the NFL with 1,106 rushing yards. He has five 100-yard games this season, with his two highest rushing totals coming against the Super Bowl champion Giants.
He had 120 yards on 22 carries in Washington’s 27-23 loss at New York on Oct. 21.
“I made the team. I rushed for 1,000 yards. I did a lot of things that I myself coming in didn’t think I was going to be able to do, but I believed in myself and I’ve got a coach that believes in me and that makes me push that much harder,” Morris said.