FEDEX FIELD - Coming into Sunday's Week 4 matchup against the Eagles, the Redskins running back situation seemed a competition between veteran Alfred Morris and rookie Matt Jones.
By the end of Washington's dramatic win over Philadelphia, a new name emerged in the running back discussion: Chris Thompson.
The third-year pro from Florida State gave the Redskins a big boost in the first half with 70 total yards, including a huge play on the Redskins first drive. Backed up deep in their own territory, Washington faced a 3rd & 19 when Thompson busted more than 40 yards on a draw play.
"He got us out of so many situations," Morris said after the game of Thompson. "That was huge."
Morris explained how much Thompson's play meant for the 'Skins.
"I was saying "Chris, great job,'" Morris said. "He is a playmaker. We need more of that."
Redskins coach Jay Gruden explained that less and less of the NFL can rely on a single running back, and the plan for the Redskins is to keep their runners fresh and ride the hot hand.
"I think that's the way it's got to be," Gruden said. "The days of football where you have one guy getting 42 carries a game are numbered."
Early on Sunday against the Eagles, that meant a lot of Thompson.
"All week they were telling me they were going to give me chances," Thompson said. "With the opportunities I got, I wanted to make the best of them."
Thompson brings a unique blend of size, speed and pass catching ability that the other two players can't exactly replicate. Jones explained that Washington even put some items in the game plan against the Eagles to get Thompson the ball. It showed.
"I love it," Thompson said of his increased role. "The more reps and the more work I get on the field, I stay warmed up and feel comfortable."
Like most things in the NFL, just when it looked like the Redskins backfield would be the Morris and Jones show, things changed.
"This 16-game season is a grind," Gruden said. "We need two, three backs to carry the load. We have some specialty plays for Chris Thompson, and obviously, Matt and Alfred are both capable runners."
For a player that was not a certainty to make the roster coming out of preseason, Thompson has carved out a good role in the Redskins offense. Last season Roy Helu got most reps in the two-minute and hurry up packages, and now it seems Thompson has wrapped up that spot. In his previous two season, injuries threatened to derail Thompson's Redskins career, but so far in 2015 with reasonable health, Thompson is proving his worth for the franchise.
The win over the Eagles marked career highs in carries and rush yards, and the 42-yard scamper on the early draw play was the longest run of Thompson's career.
"The intent is to play the hot-hand," Gruden said of his RBs. "I like all three backs, and I think they all bring something to our football team in a positive way."