Redskins running back Roy Helu gained a career-high 126 yards on 27 carries in Sunday’s 34-27 loss to New England, becoming the first Washington rookie to gain at least 100 yards rushing in three straight games.

“It’s pretty cool,” Helu said. “All credit to the linemen. They did pretty great.”

Helu, who is loathe to praise himself, is now entrenched as the Redskins’ starter. Veteran back Ryan Torain was inactive for the first time this season, and rookie Evan Royster served as Helu’s back-up. The 170 yards the Redskins gained on the ground were their highest total since a Week 4 victory over St. Louis.

“It’s still early, but the way he’s played over the last three games, it’s one of the reasons why he’s been getting the load,” Coach Mike Shanahan said of Helu. “… Today I thought he really stepped up and played well.”

Helu now has 124 carries for 582 yards, a 4.7 average.

“I think he’s a great athlete,” quarterback Rex Grossman said. “He has a lot of speed. He understands the zone running scheme, one gap at a time, and being able to make quick decisions on when to cut back and when to stretch it out. When he puts his foot in the ground and makes a decision, he runs north and south quickly, and he’s tough, too.”

Helu, though, was typically critical of himself afterward.

“I need to work on a whole bunch of stuff, being disciplined in pass protection while running and accelerating my feet on contact,” Helu said. “I think today I can definitely look at some game film and improve.”