By: Xavier Warner (@xavierjwarner)
Well, Well, Well… It looks like the Rams have two dominant running backs down the stretch this year and it certainly has been the difference thus far in how they finished last year in relation to their run so far this year. The Rams, under the guidance of 2nd Year Standout Sean McVay, have won their first playoff game and completely dominated the Cowboys on the ground in the Divisional Round. Both Todd Gurley and CJ Anderson, who is just, “a fat kid running”, could be a huge reason why the Rams capture the Lombardi Trophy this season.
6 Rushes -> 25 Yards
5 Rushes -> 33 Yards
Gurley and CJ started off the game with a combined 11 rushes for 58 yards in the first quarter against a very good Cowboys Interior Defense. Gurley started the game off by receiving the first four carries of the game for LA while CJ pounded for a 12-yard rush on his first carry of the game. CJ Anderson hit a gaping hole for a 14 yard run that really showed his acceleration, agility and vision while jump cutting and bursting through holes against one of the best young linebacker tandems in the NFL (Jaylon Smith/Leighton Vander Esch).
The first quarter started out almost perfectly for the Rams; if it wasn’t for an Amari Cooper touchdown catch and run that put the Cowboys up 7-3 in this one.
6 Total Touches -> 58 Total Yards
4 Rushes -> 55 Yards (TD)
2 Targets/2 Catches -> 3 Yards
7 Rushes -> 45 Yards (TD)
1 Targets/0 Catches -> 0 Yards
The second quarter… jeez, this is where it really takes off for the Rams. Both Gurley and Anderson scored in this quarter and both of their scores seemed to be big changes in the momentum for the game (as an Eagles fan, this makes me absolutely ecstatic). CJ scored from 1 yard out on a short push in the end zone, while Gurley scampered for a 35 yard score where he just ran away from each and every defender that tried to bring him down. Gurley also had 2 receptions on 2 targets in this quarter for only 3 yards. Let’s just understand the fact that Gurley did almost 0… I repeat 0 damage in the receiving game and, that’s… OK. They didn’t need it here, as their running game dominated from start to finish and showed that Gurley doesn’t need to be overused for the Rams to be effective in their game plan which for McVay, is an absolute dream situation by all accounts.
4 Rushes -> 33 Yards
3 Rushes -> 7 Yards
This was a slow quarter as they only amassed 40 yards in total throughout this quarter but they still held a one-score lead which is fine, but the Rams needed another positive quarter from their running game and guess what happens in the 4th Quarter?
Yea, you guessed it… They went right back to work!
2 Rushes -> 2 Yards
8 Rushes -> 38 Yards (1 TD)
This is the quarter that put everything away, albeit the Cowboys still had a chance to win as the game came to a close. The most interesting thing about this quarter is that Gurley wasn’t used much down the stretch. It was mostly CJ’s world here and he dominated it to the tune of 38 yards and 1 TD. Seeing the disparity between Gurley and Anderson when the game meant the most makes me question if Gurley is 100% healthy (which he probably isn’t) or if the use of CJ was just the concept of feeding the hot hand and the moment. Either way, I’m fine with either concept as a football fan but it should be an interesting concept to keep an eye out for this week in New Orleans.
Final Stat Lines
Both Todd Gurley and CJ Anderson dominated (as previously stated) and finished combined with a total of 238 yards and 3 TDs… thats insane. All in all this was pure poetry in motion by McVay and his staff to trust CJ going towards the end of the season as Gurley got healthy and continuing to use him as a compliment to their stud running back moving forward.They are going to need that combo against the Saints to make sure Drew Brees stays off the field and doesn’t end their season the way he ended my Eagles season 🙁
Next week we will study another offensive player that stood out for their performance in the AFC/NFC Championship Games! See you all then!