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Could Todd Gurley be Named MVP?

Posted Dec 19, 2017

After a 180-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Seahawks in Week 15, RB Todd Gurley has firmly entered the MVP conversation.

Running back Todd Gurley has been one of the most productive players in the league during the 2017 season. He leads the league with 17 touchdowns. He’s No. 2 in yards from scrimmage with 1,817. He’s No. 3 in yards rushing with 1,187.

And after a four-touchdown performance against the Seahawks — in Seattle — is there a case to be made that Gurley is the league’s most valuable player?

“I think so,” quarterback Jared Goff said in response to that very question following Sunday’s 42-7 victory. “He had four touchdowns today. In my eyes — I might be a little bit biased — but I think he is the best running back in the league and the most complete back. He can do it out of the back field, can do it in the pass-protection game, and obviously the way he runs is special.”

Gurley displayed that on Sunday, particularly with his 57-yard touchdown toward the end of the second quarter when he outran everyone on the field to score untouched. It was Gurley’s longest run since his rookie year, and the second longest run of his career.

But a running back for MVP? That’s tough to accomplish in today’s NFL.

Since 2007, only one running back has been named the league’s most valuable player — Adrian Peterson in 2012. And all he needed to do to merit consideration was rush for 2.097 yards and 12 touchdowns. The running back was also coming off of tearing his ACL and MCL the year before.

Prior to Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson was the last running back to be named MVP in 2006. And all he did was set the league’s scoring record with 31 total touchdowns — 28 rushing and three receiving, good for 186 points. He also had 2,323 yards from scrimmage with a league-leading 1,815 yards rushing and 508 yards receiving.

Former Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander also was named MVP after setting what was then a record 27 rushing touchdowns in 2005.

But that just shows just how hard it’s been for a running back to be named most valuable player over the last 15 years. It’s truly become a quarterback’s award unless there is a significant record challenged or broken.

Still, Gurley has averaged 150 yards from scrimmage over the last four games, with the Rams scoring 33.8 points per game in the contests. The running back, however, said he doesn’t think he’s found an extra gear lately.

“I”m just out there playing ball, man — just doing what I do, honestly,” Gurley said following Sunday’s game.

But that won’t stop his head coach and quarterback from campaigning for him when asked about Gurley’s potential MVP prospects.

“He deserves everything that is coming his way,” Goff said Sunday, “but I think best thing about him is he couldn’t care less about that and he is super excited about this game.”

“I’m obviously going to be biased to Todd, but I think if you just look at it from a production standpoint, he’s been as productive as any player. He’s got over 1,800 all-purpose yards, 17 touchdowns leading the league. Over 630 yards receiving,” head coach Sean McVay said Monday. “He has a great game [on Sunday], but Todd will tell you — that success he’s had is a credit to his teammates. You look at the way guys compete in the run-game for him — he certainly is a special player, but I think with Todd’s success, that is a reflection of our offensive unit. I think it’s a great honor for him. I think he certainly has gotten himself into legitimate conversations with that just based on the production and what he’s meant to our team.”