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Helu Jr.'s Hat Trick Solves Red Zone Woes

Posted Oct 21, 2013

A week ago, the Washington Redskins were unable to punch it into the end zone from the red zone. Against the Bears, they rode Roy Helu Jr. to red zone success.

Roy Helu Jr. received the handoff, cut against the grain of the zone block and knifed into the end zone for the third time. His first career multi-touchdown game had become a hat trick.

In a 45-41 win over the Bears, Alfred Morris had more attempts and more yards. Robert Griffin III had more yards per carry. But with three yards separating Washington from a last-minute comeback victory, the Redskins turned to Helu Jr.

The third-year runner’s touchdown with 0:49 remaining gave the Redskins their final margin of victory.

“We just knew that it was a 'must win' situation for us and for the morality of our team,” Helu Jr. said. “So when we got out on the field it was all about business and trying to fight even...harder for our brothers and our coaching staff.”

A week removed from a loss in which Washington went 0-for-3 scoring touchdowns in the red zone, Helu Jr. ran for a 14-yard score and two 3-yarders, tying a franchise record  for rushing touchdowns in a game and doubling his career output in that category.

“I wasn’t playing last season, so to be a part of something bigger than myself with this organization, I’ll take whatever role I can,” Helu Jr said. “Today it just happened to be more of a red zone role.”

Along with Morris and Griffin III, Helu Jr. helped form a three-headed threat that bled the Bears for the majority of Washington’s 209 rushing yards.

After the game, Helu Jr. said his primary role is still to provide “a break for Alfred.”

Morris ran 19 times for 95 yards, but ceded his spot to Helu Jr. when the team entered scoring range. He said he’s happy to see Helu Jr. get his “shine time.”

Head coach Mike Shanahan, who has a history of going with the hot hand, stressed the importance of fresh legs.

“Running the ball, it’s a good change of pace to have a guy like that, especially when Alfred is a little tired,” Shanahan said. “There was a pretty good one-two punch.”

Both runners benefitted from the increased rushing presence of Griffin III, who ran for 84 yards on 11 carries and delayed linebackers with the threat of a quarterback keeper in the zone-read.

After going on injured reserve after Week 3 in 2012, Helu Jr. said his Sunday performance encouraged him. He said he “hardly felt any hindrance” in his surgically repaired foot.

While happy to contribute to a win, Helu Jr. acknowledged he had trouble celebrating a 2-4 record.

“It’s just kind of bittersweet because we still need to fight our way out of this hole that we’re in,” he said.