Alfred Morris has been the one consistent performer for the Washington Redskins all year. In a Week 10 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, Morris will once again need to be the focal point of the Redskins' offense as they look to pick up a game in the division.
The Redskins get the 1-7 Vikings. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, have to play the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers, respectively. A win Thursday night could potentially put the Redskins only a half-game back from the division-leading Cowboys.
Needless to say (but I'm saying it anyways), this week's game at Minnesota is yet another must-win scenario.
In Washington's three victories, Alfred Morris is averaging 20 carries per game. In their five losses, only 14.6 carries per game. This is an oversimplification, as game circumstances often dictate the play-calling, but a heavy dose of Morris is a key ingredient in the winning formula for the Redskins.
Morris currently ranks fifth among all running backs in total yards with 686 through eight games. He ranks first among qualified runners (over 50 carries) in yards per carry with an impressive 5.2. Morris' backup, Roy Helu, by comparison, is averaging a mediocre 4.3.
In a year when the Redskins have had wild swings in production in every aspect of their performance, Morris has been a consistent producer. After a fluky loss to the Eagles in Week 1 where they fell behind early, Morris has run for at least 70 yards in every game.
The Cowboys' nonexistent run game only attempted nine rushes Sunday and averaged 4.0 yards per carry. Against the Packers the week before, Eddie Lacy and company ran roughshod over the Vikings defense. The Packers ran a total of 42 times for 182 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
Who is the most important player for the Redskins success on offense?
The Redskins had an excellent day passing against the San Diego Chargers, due in large part to their success on the ground. Robert Griffin III completed eight of 10 passes (subscription required) that traveled 10 or more yards downfield for 196 yards.
Many of these completions came off of play action, which held the linebackers from dropping into coverage. This allowed Pierre Garcon to have a fantastic day, recording seven catches for 172 yards.
The Redskins offense flows through the run game, and that starts with Alfred Morris getting the ball early and often. They don't need to run on every first down, but the threat of Morris grinding out yards play after play is what opens up the rest of the offense and allows Robert Griffin III to operate more effectively.