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Offensive Line Dominant In NFC East Clincher

Posted Dec 31, 2012

The Redskins’ offensive line paves way for a career performance from Alfred Morris as team claims first division title since 1999

Thoughts of John Riggins were no doubt on many fans’ minds when they watched rookie running back Alfred Morris rush for a career-best 200 yards and three touchdowns as the Redskins ended the Dallas Cowboys’ season late Sunday night at FedExField.

Riggins – the Redskins’ all-time leading rusher – made a habit of deflating the Cowboys’ postseason hopes and dreams in his seven years with Washington, as the 1992 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee often saved his best performances for the biggest of stages.

But paving the way for Riggins and his famous runs was a stout offensive line known simply as the “Hogs.”

And, not surprisingly, a new set of “Hogs” did the exact same for Morris Sunday night – as they have been doing for the entirety of this improbable 2012 Redskins season.

With 274 yards rushing Sunday against the Cowboys (8-8), the Redskins (10-6) also set a single-season team rushing record. The 2,709 yards this season surpassed the 2,625 rushing yards set with Riggins and company in 1983.

“That’s cool,” Redskins right tackle Tyler Polumbus said. “As an offensive line, you take a lot of pride in running the ball. That’s certainly what you have the most fun doing, so, anytime we’re able to run the ball, it’s good for everybody.”

Polumbus suited up for the first time in two weeks, after suffering a concussion Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns.

Swing tackle Maurice Hurt started in his place last Sunday and was praised by head coach Mike Shanahan throughout the week for his performance.

“After watching the film last week, [Hurt] did a great job,” Polumbus said. “He certainly stepped in there and held down the front.”

Polumbus said he had a feeling he’d be able to return Sunday night as the week progressed.

“I knew all week that I was kind of progressing, but you don’t know, really, until [Sunday],” Polumbus said. “I have to get here and make sure I didn’t have headaches and everything was going to be good to go.”

The Redskins’ depth at offensive line was again put on display Sunday when left guard Kory Lichtensteiger exited the game with a left ankle injury.

In came rookie lineman Josh LeRibeus, who has mostly only seen the field for field-goal protection this season.

LeRibeus said it didn’t take long to get the jitters out – especially with the way Morris was running the ball.

“It was just a lot more like practice and getting after people,” LeRibeus said. “Just that first drive I come in, and Alfred’s just tearing it up down the field. He was lighting it up, wasn’t he? Two hundred yards – not bad, huh?”

Left tackle Trent Williams – who was selected to his first Pro Bowl late last week – praised LeRibeus for the Redskins’ coaching staff for being ready to go in such a crucial game.

“Any great team has to have depth,” Williams said. “That just shows some of the depth that we have across the O-line – somebody to come in in the heat of the game when we need a few crucial drives, and came in and executed like he did.”

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