Running back Alfred Morris said he’d have to study the video before he could fully explain how, given four attempts from three yards and in, he couldn’t punch the ball in for a touchdown on the Redskins starters’ third and final drive in Monday’s 24-23 preseason victory over Cleveland.
But he had a gut feeling.
“As of now, I feel like we got outmanned,” Morris said afterward. “They wanted to stop us more than we wanted it. That’s just my analysis of it. I guess we really won’t know for sure until we watch the film.”
All three of the starting offense’s drives were fruitless. The first ended on a fumble. The second, on an interception. The third was perhaps the most dispiriting of all.
Given the turnovers, Coach Jay Gruden doubled-down on the running game, and Morris gained 11 yards on back-to-back carries. From there, it was two steps forward and one step back. Griffin lost nine yards on a sack; Morris got it back with an 11-yard gain over the right tackle.
Then came a beautiful 49-yard completion to Andre Roberts that put the Redskins in prime scoring position.
Nudged forward by a Cleveland penalty, Morris bored up the middle from the 3 and gained two yards.
On second and one, he was stopped cold running to his right.
On third and one, he tried vaulting over the pile of defenders to no avail.
“That was a bad strategy,” Morris said. “I have never tried to go over before. I don’t know what I was thinking. I just wanted to get off the field. So, bad idea.”
With Gruden going for it on fourth and one, Morris rumbled to his left. Initially ruled a touchdown, it was overturned when replay showed Morris had a knee down shy of the plane.
Fullback Darrel Young was gob-smacked.
“In the three years that Alfred has been here and all the years I’ve been the fullback, that’s the first time we’ve gotten stopped in the goal line running the football,” Young said. ”That’s one of our goal-line plays. But that’s good job by them. It’s frustrating because we know that’s what we do, but we just have to get better.”
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