While many running backs in the NFL tend to wear down as the season winds down, Alfred Morris is only getting better.
With 125 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, Morris turned in his strongest performance of the year, breaking the century-mark for the first time this season, and continued an upward trend he started seven weeks ago.
"We were able to get some running lanes and to get a lot of positive out there," Morris said postgame. "We just got to find a way to translate that effort into wins."
By running the Redskins' bread and butter — the zone-running scheme — the team's offense on Sunday showed it was most effective with the ball in the third-year back's hands. On the day, Morris accounted for more than half of Washington's total offensive production and also ripped off a season-long run of 30 yards.
Morris said that the Redskins' rushing attack was clicking on all cylinders and refused to be stopped against a talented 49ers defense.
"It came down to the inside backers and making them over or under commit just to open up a gap," Morris said. "They changed it up after halftime by bringing the safety down in the box. It presented a new problem but it didn't stop our run game.
"It was a successful day but we just need to continue to keep building and find a way to win."
Thanks in large part to the ability of the offense to run the football, other areas of head coach Jay Gruden's playbook were able to open up. In the passing game, it served to setup Robert Griffin III's two biggest throws on the day.
By utilizing the play-action pass, Griffin III was able to connect with DeSean Jackson for a 32-yard play and Pierre Garçon for a 24-yard completion. Of the success that the Redskins did find through the air on Sunday, Griffin III attributes it to Morris' contribution.
"I think it opened up some things for us in the play-action," Griffin III said. "Pierre had a nice catch over the middle and so did DeSean, and I think that helps us when you can have an effective running game."
As the team continues through the second half of the season, it's clear to Gruden that he needs to keep on feeding his workhorse running back on Sundays.
"That's very important and we're going to rely on that," Gruden said. "We have to rely on that for us to be any kind of successful team in the future. Moving forward, I think we have to get our running game going and Alfred has been running really hard the last few weeks."
When you break it down game by game, there is an obvious trend in Morris' productivity — and that arrow points straight up.
Since Week 5 when Morris ran for just 29 yards on 13 carries against the Seattle Seahawks, Morris has only gotten better. Over the past six games since that Monday Night Football contest, his yards-per-game, yards-per-carry and total carries have increased steadily.
While you can look to the X's and O's for a reason for his recent success, Morris said he simply got back to the basics.
"I stopped trying to think too much," Morris said. "I've been playing this game since I was 5. I know how to be a runner. I just stopped thinking and stopped trying to make things happen that weren't there."
On the season, Morris has gained 826 yards on 193 carries and has matched his total from a season ago with seven touchdowns. With five games remaining, he's well on his way to this third-consecutive season with at least 1,000-yards rushing.
If you ask Morris, he's not surprised by his steady improvement, saying that's just the kind of runner that he is.
"Each week has been getting better and better," Morris said. "That is just the type of guy I am anyways. As the season goes along, as the game progresses, I feel like I get stronger and stronger."