Washington Redskins star running back Alfred Morris has been a revelation ever since his 96-yard, two-touchdown debut last season against the New Orleans Saints as a sixth-round rookie out of Florida Atlantic. Morris would go on to rush for a whopping 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns as everyone’s fantasy darling, and his vision and cutting ability are among the best in the NFL. He’s off to another excellent season in his second year in the league, and many of us were wondering why the Redskins aren’t rushing it more, especially with Morris (Roy Helu is OK, but c’mon now). That was at the very beginning of the season when Morris wasn’t used consistently and Robert Griffin III was struggling, but Morris’s workload has skyrocketed in recent weeks (at least 25 carries in the past two games).
Morris has been so good, in fact, that he leads all running backs in yards per carry among those who have accrued at least 50 carries this season. It’s common fact that running backs who receive more carries generally average less yards per carry for a few reasons. First of all, defenses are more likely to stack the box against teams that run it more often, and the second reason has to do with tiring; not every back can hold up over the season.
So far this season, Alfred Morris is averaging an excellent 5.2 yards per carry on 159 total carries, which is fifth in the NFL. Granted, Morris has played in more games than the four next RBs below him on the list, but I use his total carries to show that his YPC is clearly not fluky. He’s been amazing this season just like he was last season, and no running back with at least 50 carries has five yards per carry. If that doesn’t impress you, then you might be a Minnesota Vikings fan who has been spoiled by Adrian Peterson.
With 825 rushing yards, Morris also leads the NFL in rushing yards, which is a lot more recognizable for the average fan than yards per carry, but it just serves to show you that Morris has been easily the most efficient back in the NFL this year. By the way, all of the top five rushers this season have played in nine games, so playing in a Thursday night game has no bearing (that is to say, Morris leading the league in rushing yards right now isn’t a fluke either). In fact, the running back with the most rushing yards among the players who have played in eight games this season (Matt Forte) would need 165 rushing yards in order to tie Alfred Morris for the league lead.
Has Morris been the best running back in the NFL? There’s a case to be made, but there’s definitely more to any “best of” discussion than the raw stats. Still, the numbers are very impressive.