Early, the Los Angeles Rams running back — the source of countless hours of consternation this offseason — did nothing to silence the fears that he might not be the same playmaker due to lingering knee issues. Gurley had just eight yards on five carries in the first half. Backup Malcolm Brown went for 29 yards and a touchdown on an identical five carries.
It had the feeling of another C.J. Anderson split-back scenario heading into halftime.
Gurley popped off a 25-yard attempt to open the third quarter, but after a fumble that was recovered the Rams, the running back didn’t touch the ball again until the fourth quarter.
In the final stanza, with the Rams grinding the clock, Gurley finally found some space, toting eight times for 64 yards, including gashes of 17 and 15 yards. He finished with 97 yards on 14 totes.
“Felt good,” he said tersely when asked about his performance, via the L.A. Times.
While it was a positive that Gurley bounced back down the stretch, it won’t stop the questions about a timeshare in the Rams backfield. Brown earned 11 rushes for 53 yards and scored both of the rushing TDs.
The Rams are focusing on the fourth quarter as a reason for optimism surrounding Gurley.
“There’s a lot of outside noise around him obviously, but we felt confident with him inside the team and he showed it today he looked like he always does today,” Goff said of Gurley. “I tried to tell everyone he looks exactly the same, and no one wanted to believe me.”
It’s a similar refrain to the one we’ve heard all offseason. Yet the Rams‘ actions have spoken louder. The re-signed Brown and drafted Darrell Henderson in the third round (just one carry for no gain Sunday). It’s clear they want to take some of the load off Gurley. Sunday, it was Brown taking the goal-line carries.
“You seen the game. You seen how he did,” Gurley said when asked about Brown. “He did damn good. Obviously, he’s a great running back. He’s been here the same amount of time as me. He went in there and did his thing like he always does.”
Gurley’s up-and-down day underscored the reality that perhaps he might not be a 25-carry-a-game back anymore. But the Rams can win with less Gurley if the other weapons play their part.