If the Baltimore Ravens are to beat the Washington Redskins in Week 14, they will have to key on 'Skins rookie RB Alfred Morris. Throughout his debut season, Morris has quietly gotten things done on the field, runs hard every week and has no sign of slowing down, as he propels an offense ranked first in rushing yards in the NFL.
I would love to be a fly on the wall in the Baltimore Ravens defensive meetings this week as they prepare for their Week 14 game against the revitalized Washington Redskins. I can almost picture the dry-erase board in my head with the following statements:
1. Stop QB Robert Griffin III.
2. Stop RB Alfred Morris.
3. Any suggestions?
If the Ravens' primary objective is stopping RG3, they are going to get steam-rolled by RB Alfred Morris—who went by the nickname "A-Train" while in college at Florida Atlantic University. And, if they make an attempt to contain Morris, then RG3 will run rampant when the 'Skins are not in a passing situation.
It is unavoidable and undeniably the NFL's best 1-2 offensive punch. The RG3-Morris tandem creates a balanced offensive attack with Morris alone accounting for one-fourth of the Redskins offensive total yardage this season—not bad for a running back who was the 34th projected RB selected in the 2012 NFL draft.
Not to mention, he was told by "experts" that he wouldn't be drafted at all. Alfred Morris has turned out to be the engine who runs the RG3-led locomotive on offense, especially in the last three games.
Is Alfred Morris a legitimate candidate for "NFL 2012 Rookie of the Year" award?
The bottom line is that the Redskins are focused on winning and keeping their playoff chances alive. Morris is a catalyst on offense for that chance of getting one step closer to post-season play.
After starting the season 3-6, the 'Skins have three consecutive wins against their NFC East division rivals Eagles, Cowboys and Giants after their Week-10 bye. Much credit is due to rookie sensation and backfield phenom Alfred Morris.
Herein lies the four ways in which the "A-Train" will lead the Redskins to a victory over the Ravens on Sunday Dec. 9.
Morris quietly gets thing done
Morris is currently tied for third in the NFL in rushing yards with fellow rookie sensation, Tampa Bay's Doug Martin (1,106). He trails only Seattle's Marshawn Lynch (1,138), Minnesota's Adrian Peterson (1,446).
Morris runs hard every week
The "A-Train" averages 20 carries per game and averages 92 yards per game. Morris only has three fumbles, losing two of them. His 230 total rushes through Week 13 ranks him fifth in the league.
Morris has no signs of slowing down
Following back-to-back 100-plus yard rushing games in the last two games, and five for the season, Morris is entering uncharted water in his rookie season. He has four additional games than a standard 12-game college season still to play.
Baltimore allows 123 yards rushing per game and the "A-Train" is expected to kick it into overdrive. Morris has led the 'Skins in rushing in all but three games this season—exceeded only by RG3 in each game.
Morris provides the spark to the pistol-style offense
If it were not for Morris and his 1,000-plus yards rushing, the option and play action plays would not be as impressive or nearly as effective. He has six touchdowns on the season, and his longest rush of the year is a 39-yard TD against Tampa Bay in Week Four. Each of his other rushing TDs have come when the 'Skins were inside the 10-yard line.
Should the Ravens find a way in which they handle and derail the "A-Train", the multi-faceted Redskins offense will find a different track to the end zone. It is worth noting that even RG3 has voiced his admiration for Morris by stating he would vote for him as the "2012 NFL Rookie of the Year" if he had a vote.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has been glowing in his praise of Morris. With his diamond-in-the-rough discovery in the sixth round of the 2012 draft, Shanahan trusted his staff and took a chance on Morris despite projections, predictions and Morris' 347 yards rushing his senior year on a 1-11 Florida Atlantic University football team.
Alfred Morris' take on this entire experience has been humbling. In an interview on NFL.com last week, he expressed his gratitude for the 'Skins taking a chance on him in the draft. He repeatedly used the word "thankful" for the Redskins giving him a shot in the NFL, and he was glad they did.
Speaking on behalf on Redskins fans, we couldn't agree more.
***Statistical information provided by NFL.com.***
Follow me on Twitter @JohnBibb