ASHBURN, Va. -- Running back Alfred Morris didn’t have the start he wanted. It wasn’t the start any running back would want. A fumble on his first carry; a dropped pitch in the end zone. His gaffes led to nine points by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Morris finished with 45 yards on 12 carries, and he and the Redskins did not overcome his mistakes -- and seemingly a dozen others -- in their 33-27 loss to Philadelphia.
The fumble occurred with the Redskins leading 7-3. Morris had to cut inside quickly and Eagles linebacker Trent Cole, coming down the line, reached over and knocked the ball out from Morris’ right arm.
“I was shocked to start like that,” Morris said. “It was not the way I envisioned the first game going or the first quarter going. It was a rough start. Most people get in the tank. I didn’t get in the tank. It helped having coaches and teammates rally around me. That’s huge. That’s characteristic of the type of team we have. It definitely helps you from going into the tank. Yeah it was frustrating but I shook it off.”
Morris and the running game never really had a chance to get moving. In the first half the Redskins ran the ball on nine of their 21 plays, gaining just 28 yards. Morris rushed seven times for 26 yards. The Eagles did a solid job of forcing him to make early cuts in the backfield on a couple plays, leading to bad runs. But the Redskins could not sustain drives, failing to convert any of their four third-down chances in the first half. They needed at least 9 yards on all four third downs.
And by early in the second half they trailed 33-7 so any chance of getting the ground game moving had ended. Morris alternated with Roy Helu in the second half, with Helu getting chances as much for his ability in the passing game.
“I wasn’t as good a player mentally or physically,” Morris said. “It was one of those things I never did before. I was trying to get back into a rhythm. I guess it was taking more than I thought it would.
“I’m more thankful than anything that they left me in the game. They could have easily pulled me, but it shows you the faith and trust and belief the coaches have in me. It definitely makes me feel better to know they are behind me.”