Did Giants show how to stop Redskins' rushing attack?

Did Giants show how to stop Redskins' rushing attack?
December 7, 2013, 10:45 am
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Did the Giants give the Redskins’ remaining opponents they key to stopping their top-ranked rushing offense?

Alfred Morris had his worst day as a pro last Sunday night as his 11 carries and 26 yards both were career lows. What the Giants did was key on stopping Morris, especially on the read option plays. According to Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins ran the read option eight times and eight times the defense focused on tackling Morris, forcing Robert Griffin III to run the ball.

A year ago, that was a recipe for disaster for the opposing defense. Last year Griffin had 26 runs of 10 yards or more and he scored three touchdowns on such runs. This year he has 17 and he has yet to find the end zone on a run of any length.

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On ESPN 980, Chris Cooley said that the threat of Griffin running simply isn’t what it was a year ago (here via the DC Sports Bog’s transcription):

“When you do look at him as a runner, he is not an impactful runner in any way shape or form,” Cooley said. “He was last season. They’re running read option, but he will not stick his foot in the ground, plant, make a cut, and try to make anybody miss. Maybe on a 3-and-1 at an impactful point in the game. But it was very clear to me that Robert made the decision that he is not going to get hurt for the rest of this season. So when he gets on the edge, there were a couple plays that could have been had where Robert would have ran for 20-, 30-plus yards last year. He will run for two [this year], and he will run out of bounds.

It seems odd to say that 88 yards on the ground is not “impactful”. But Griffin picked up 20 yards on a meaningless jaunt down the sideline after he decided not to pull the trigger on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half. He did have a 15-yard run during the Redskins’ second touchdown drive. And he had a 14-yard run during a promising drive that was killed by an offensive holding penalty and by Santana Moss’ unsportsmanlike conduct flag.

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Other than the three long runs, Griffin had nine carries for 39 yards. Now the numbers are what they are but if you’re a defense I think that you are more than happy to give that up in exchange for preventing Morris from grinding out five yards a carry on 25 attempts and moving the chains while wearing down your defense.

There are too many unknowns to try to figure out what the Redskins’ offense might look like with Griffin next year, the most important being the makeup of the coaching staff and the health of Griffin’s knee.

But for the rest of this year look for defenses to imitate what the Giants did and dare Griffin to beat them with his legs.

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