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Gurley Dominating Both Air and Ground

Posted Dec 5, 2017

This season, RB Todd Gurley has not only re-established his dominance in the run, but has also branched into the passing game.

It’s no secret that Rams running back Todd Gurley is one of the league’s most dynamic rushers. In 41 games with the franchise, Gurley has amassed 2,930 rushing yards, and is currently averaging 4.2 yards per carry with 78.2 rushing yards per game.  

But this season, the Georgia product has not only re-established his dominance in the run, but has also branched out as a top threat in the passing game.

Through 12 games this year, Gurley has recorded 563 receiving yards on 43 catches. Coupled with his yardage on the ground, he has recorded 1,502 yards from scrimmage, becoming the first Ram to reach 1,500 yards since Steven Jackson in 2010.

He also joins Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson as the only two players in franchise history to have at least 1,500 yards from scrimmage and at least 10 touchdowns in the team’s first 12 games.

“A lot of people try to stop Todd first, just because of how dynamic he is,” left guard Rodger Saffold said. “And I think that his ability to go out into the passing game and really have a huge influence is what makes him probably one of the most complete backs in the league.”

When the Rams hired head coach Sean McVay in early 2017, he figured Gurley was going to be a focal point of the offense. As such, the goal for McVay has always been to get the ball into Gurley’s hands in as many ways as possible.

“Todd’s a special player…We always try to find ways to get Todd involved whether it be through running it or in the pass game,” McVay said on Monday. “You look at [Sunday’s game], when we really needed a big play, he had a couple huge screening plays.”

Specifically, a 33-yard screen pass from quarterback Jared Goff in the fourth quarter.

On 2nd-and-10 from the L.A. 42, Goff came off play action and delivered a short screen to Gurley on the left side of the field. With Arizona bringing heavy pressure, there was no one to stop Gurley as he took off, turning on the jets for a 33-yard gain to the Arizona 25.

“You see when the ball is in his hands, you feel like he might take it every single time,” McVay said. “He continues to demonstrate, week-in and week-out, how important he is to our offense. And when Todd’s having a good day, usually that’s going to be good for our whole offense and for our team.”

To McVay’s point, the Rams have an 8-1 record when Gurley reaches at least 100 yards from scrimmage and a 3-0 record when he goes over 150 yards. Plus, because defenses are so aware of Gurley’s ability on the ground, it has made the screen game all the more effective.

“Coach is able to line it up and have everything look the same [as a run],” Gurley said. “It’s that run-pass balance, and then you throw in a couple screens here and there. That’s been pretty good for us.”

Overall, Gurley is on pace for 2,003 yards from scrimmage — which would mark a historic season. If he is able to stay on track, he will become the fourth player in franchise history to reach 2,000 yards in a single season.