With veteran running backs Tim Hightower and Roy Helu Jr. on the mend and Evan Royster out with a knee injury, rookie running back Alfred Morris got the home start tonight vs. the Indianapolis Colts.
After starting hot and fizzling last week, Morris got better as the game went on today, rushing for 18- and 24-yard bursts. He finished the day with 14 carries for 107 yards, and his first NFL touchdown.
"It's a great opportunity and I just went out and did my best with the opportunity I was given," he said after the game. "Definitely, I think I played a lot better overall than I played last game."
Veteran running back Tim Hightower appeared in relief of Morris, in his first NFL action since tearing his ACL in Week 6 last year. He played limited snaps, and is said to have felt good at the end of the game.
Even with Hightower's return, head coach Mike Shanahan gave Morris the edge in the running back competition, citing health as a major factor.
"[Morris] had a heck of a game today and played well," Shanahan said. "Number one, we're waiting to see who's healthy. He may be the lonely soldier at the end."
Morris is likely to rest in the fourth preseason game vs. the Buccaneers, given the fragile health status of the other running backs on the team.
With the regular season on the horizon, Morris likes his chances but won't declare himself winner just yet.
"At the end of the day, it's the coaches' decision," he said. "I'm going to keep making it hard, making the decision hard on them for who's going to be the starter."
In order to fill the role of starting running back, he will need to prove that he can handle the responsibilities in pass protection as well as the running game.
After missing a blocking assignment that led to a sack last week in Chicago, Morris was pleased with his performance in protection today.
"I picked up all my blitzes," he said with a smile. "I came out today, I ran hard and we won, so that's what it's all about."