Hardest Working Man  


Alfred Morris carries Washington Redskins to NFC East title

  • By Jim Reineking NFL.com
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These guys might not exactly be carrying a lunch pail and to the stadium each week, but they did bring an industrious, blue-collar, working-man approach to Week 17. Take a look at all the nominees, then vote in the poll at the bottom of the right column for your choice for the Hardest-Working Man.

Zach Brown, Tennessee Titans

The Titans closed out a disappointing 6-10 season by making a little bit of history in a 38-20 win over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars. The Titans had four return touchdowns, becoming the second team since 1940 -- joining the 1984 Seattle Seahawks, who did so in a 45-0 win over the Kansas City Chiefs -- to have four return touchdowns in a game. According to Elias, the Titans are the first team in NFL history to have two punt return touchdowns and two interception return touchdowns in the same game. While Darius Reynaud provided the punt return TDs, it was Brown who ballhawked two pick sixes.

Brown became just the fifth rookie to return two interceptions for touchdowns in a game (and second to do so this season), joining Hoot Flanagan (1925, for the Pottsville Maroons), Dan Sandifer (1948, for the Washington Redskins), Bobby Franklin (1960, for the Cleveland Browns) and Janoris Jenkins (2012, for the St. Louis Rams).

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers

Crabtree helped the 49ers defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 27-13, and enter the playoffs as the NFC's No. 2 seed. Crabtree had eight receptions for a career-high 172 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, which secured a second consecutive NFC West crown for San Francisco. This is the first time that the 49ers have won consecutive division titles since doing so between 1992 through 1995.

Crabtree's game assured the receiver of his first 1,000-yard season, going for 1,105 yards.

Everson Griffen, Minnesota Vikings

Overshadowed by Adrian Peterson's quest to conquer the single-season rushing mark was the efforts of the Vikings defense against one of the NFL's most-prolific offenses. The Vikings sacked Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers five times in a 37-34 win that earned the Vikings an NFC wild-card playoff berth. Griffen registered three of those five sacks as the Vikings won their last four games to surge into the postseason.

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

The Redskins rode a sixth-round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic to their first division title since 1999. Morris ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns as the Redskins defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 28-18, in a winner-take-all showdown for the NFC East crown. That effort capped an amazing rookie season for the running back, who set a new Redskins record for rushing yards in a season (with 1,613, topping Clinton Portis' mark of 1,516 set in 2005) and registering the third-most rushing yards for a rookie in NFL history (behind Eric Dickerson's 1,808 in 1983 and George Rogers' 1,674 in 1981).

DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers rode Williams to a 44-38 win over the New Orleans Saints, the team's four straight and fifth in six games to finish a respectable 7-9 following a dismal 2-8 start. Williams rushed for a franchise-record 210 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. The performance was particular in that Williams hadn't eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the previous 15 games this season.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.



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