Morris and Moss address the second-half play-calling

October 28, 2013

Alfred Morris had 66 rushing yards at halftime, and finished with 93 in a 45-21 loss to Denver. (Associated Press)

Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris was punishing the Denver Broncos defense during the first half of Sunday’s 45-21 loss, amassing 66 yards on nine carries by blowing through gaping holes. Then when the Redskins went ahead in the third quarter, they switched to passing mode, leaving questions about the wisdom of essentially abandoning the run when it had been supremely effective.

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said during his postgame news conference Denver’s defensive alignment in part dictated the turn in strategy, but shortly thereafter when Robert Griffin III addressed the media, the quarterback said he couldn’t comment on those decisions and it’s the offense’s responsibility to execute regardless.

During Monday morning’s open locker room session, Morris was asked a similar question about whether the Broncos had altered their defensive fronts or coverages to compel Washington to change course.

“I don’t think so. I didn’t see anything, but like I said, I’m only one person. I’m only one set of eyes,” Morris said. “A lot goes on in any given play, so I can’t see it all. But from where I was, they were playing the same defense, the same coverage they were doing at the beginning of the game. I think toward the second half they started pressuring us a little more, throwing some blitzes and stuff, which I don’t think they were doing in the first half. I guess it worked out in their advantage.”

Morris finished with 93 yards on 17 carries, including a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to give Washington a 14-7 lead. When cornerback DeAngelo Hall intercepted Peyton Manning and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown, the Redskins had a 21-7 advantage with 11 minutes 25 seconds to play in the third quarter.

The Redskins threw seven times over their next 11 plays, and in short time, Denver began pulling away for 38 unanswered points.

“Just play, man. Whatever is called, we’ve got to go out and execute it,” wide receiver Santana Moss said. “You know, if we come up short, then we come up short. We had a lot of shortcomings because we didn’t get the job done. Then at the end, game got out of hand, and we tried to pass a little more, try to give ourselves a chance, and you can’t just play that way.”

The Takeaway video:

The Post's Jason Reid says after last night's loss to the Broncos, the Redskins need a win against the Chargers on Sunday if they want to do well this season. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

What’s ahead:

● Mike Shanahan speaks with reporters at 3 p.m.

More from The Post:

Meriweather responds to Marshall, says “you’ve got to go low now”

Jones’s five observations | Outsider: Positional review

D.C. Sports Bog: Fans chant ‘Keep the name’Critics blast the play-calling | More

Wise: Getting away from the run is costly | Game story

The Takeaway: Bad outweighs the good | Gallery: Photos from Denver

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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Gene Wang · October 28, 2013

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