- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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LANDOVER, Md. -- They didn’t do anything special, except return to who they are. And were. And should be. The Washington Redskins' offense works better when they run the ball.
In fact, it works like this: 500 yards of offense; 6.9 yards per play and 30 points. That’s what the run game helped create in Sunday’s 30-24 win against the San Diego Chargers. Alfred Morris rushed for 121 yards on a season-high 25 carries. Fullback Darrel Young rushed for a career-best three touchdowns, the longest of which traveled four yards.
And the passing game clicked like it hasn’t in a while. Quarterback Robert Griffin III had one pass tipped in the end zone that led to an interception and Chargers touchdown. He was off on a couple throws, too. But he was on much more than he was off, completing 23-of-32 passes for 291 yards. Like last season, the passing game benefited from linebackers that were intent on stopping the run, so bootlegs worked and their drift pass over the middle off play-action worked.
The Redskins ran the ball 40 times for 209 yards; they passed 32 times.
“It did feel like last year with the balance,” Griffin said. “We did a good job of mixing up the play-action and drop-back passing.”
The Redskins completed nine pass plays for 10 yards or more. They had struggled in this area all season -- and it was an area they excelled at in 2012. They also didn’t allow a sack, though some pressure led to three batted passes.
You can thank the run game and play-action for the success.
“It’s just making plays,” Shanahan said. “We did it all last year -- the majority of the year. That’s why we had so much success both in the running game and play-action game. That’s what you’re working for. If you get the running game going, all of the sudden you execute some big plays.”
Young made his plays count. He knew there was a chance this week that his number would be called. His third touchdown, a four-yard carry, ended the game in overtime.
“Coach said when we get down there it was going to be the first run call this week,” Young said. “I appreciate him trusting me in a situation like that.”
But there was no touchdown celebration. He knows his coach, Bobby Turner, wouldn’t approve.
“Remember that he’s old-school man,” Young said. “Just give the ball to a fan and walk back to the sideline. I’m good. I want to keep my job.”