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Monday, December 2, 2013
Morris' lack of carries didn't help offense

By John Keim

Giants/Redskins
Alfred Morris scores the Redskins' first TD, however, he would be held to just 26 yards on 11 carries.
Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris wasn’t going to be dragged into a controversy. So he did what he often does to defenders. He dodged the question.

Morris only carried two times in the second half and was replaced often by Roy Helu, who is more of a receiving threat. For the game, Morris gained 26 yards on 11 carries.

“I don’t like starting stories,” Morris said. “But no matter what, when I’m on the field, off the field, you can see me on the sidelines cheering my teammates on. It doesn’t matter if I’m on the field or not, I just want to do everything I can to help this team win.”

After the Redskins' 24-17 loss to the Giants, coach Mike Shanahan pointed to Morris’ first half in which he gained 11 yards on nine carries.

“That’s one reason why you probably go away from it a little more,” Shanahan said of the run game.

The problem is that Morris gained 15 yards on his two second-half runs, the first of which was the best blocked run of the night for 11 yards. The linebackers were taken care of; the line did not get moved back. But he received only two more carries, a four-yarder and then a six-yarder nullified by a hold.

Shanahan said not converting third downs hurt their ability to get Morris the ball. That certainly hurt their ability to run a lot of plays as, after the first drive of the second half, the Redskins went three-and-out on their next three series. And then they managed one first down before punting on the fourth. Still, that’s 14 plays and nothing for Morris (though they did run the ball five times in that span).

“We’ve talked about this a number of times. You have to make third downs,” Shanahan said.

New York’s game plan centered around stopping Morris and the Giants executed it well. Several times they’d have one safety up only to have him drop at the snap and have the other safety run up into the box. It didn’t always work, because sometimes the play went the other way, but when it did it caused problems with the blocking assignments. On one first-quarter run, the blocking on the right side was fine and Morris would have had a cutback lane if safety Antrel Rolle had not filled that gap. That left Morris with no room to cut back and resulted in a one-yard gain.

Other times, the line did not get off double teams fast enough leaving middle linebacker Jon Beason unblocked to make a tackle on a one-yard gain.

“They definitely committed to stopping the run,” Morris said. “They put eight in the box and we just didn't win at the point of attack.”