Mike Shanahan celebrates with Alfred Morris

Robert Griffin III was the sparkling draft pick. Pierre Garcon was the big free-agent signing. The third member of the Redskins’ offensive triumvirate, Alfred Morris, was a sixth-round pick from Florida Atlantic. One popular D.C. sports debate over the summer was whether he would make the team’s active roster.

Monday night, Morris carried the ball 16 times for 80 yards in the second half alone, making up for his third-quarter fumble with a grinding, punishing, sledgehammer of a finish.

The numbers he is putting up will never get the RGIII ESPN treatment, but they’re remarkable in their own way. Morris — remember, he’s a nobody six months ago — now has 1106 rushing yards, the most by a rookie in Redskins history. That puts him ahead of Reggie Brooks — a second-round pick out of Notre Dame — (1063), and Mike Thomas (919), and future league MVP Larry Brown (888).

Morris is now on pace for 1474 rushing yards this season, which would be the third-best rushing year in franchise history, after Clinton Portis in 2005 (1516) and Portis in 2008 (1487). After Portis in the record book are Stephen Davis and Terry Allen. That’s Miami, Auburn, Clemson and Florida Atlantic.

Anyhow, when Mike Shanahan entered the tunnel leading to the Redskins locker room Monday night, he had his arm around Morris and a big smile on his face. Neither his arm nor the smile left until they reached the locker-room door. Images via Comcast SportsNet.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.

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Sarah Kogod · December 4, 2012

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