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Halftime Notes: Gurley Has Two TDs, Rams Titans Tied

Posted Dec 24, 2017

RB Todd Gurley has over 150 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in just the first two quarters as L.A. and Tennessee are tied at 13.

NASHVILLE — Rams running back Todd Gurley is continuing to make a push to become the league’s most valuable player, as he has over 150 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns against the Titans. With two quarters remaining, L.A. and Tennessee are tied at 13. Here are a few notes from the first half.

GURLEY WHEN YOU NEED HIM

The Rams had just lost their lead to the Titans when defensive tackle Jurrell Casey forced a fumble that linebacker Wesley Woodyard returned for a touchdown. But Gurley got the Rams right back on top with an outstanding play.

On 2nd-and-11 from the L.A. 20, Gurley caught a screen and had some room in front of him. But then the running back turned on the jets, using his elite speed to blow past defenders en route to an 80-yard touchdown. The big play gave Los Angeles a 13-10 lead.

EIGHT IS GREAT

The Rams have had a knack for picking up takeaways on their opponent’s first possession and did it once again on Sunday.

Linebacker Cory Littleton — making his first start in place of the inactive Mark Barron — made an impact on the second play from scrimmage. Quarterback Marcus Mariota dropped back and floated a pass intended for wideout Rishard Matthews. But Littleton was there in coverage to pick off the underthrown ball.

That interception marked Los Angeles’ eighth takeaway on the opening possession this season. And the Rams have accomplished the feat in each of their last four games.

CAPITALIZING ON THE OPPORTUNITY

Los Angeles got on the board first with a creative play for a Todd Gurley touchdown following the interception.

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp made a nice catch on the left sideline for 34-yards, moving L.A. up to the Tennessee eight-yard line. A few plays later, Gurley lined up in a bunch formation on the right, got free in the flat, and caught Jared Goff’s 25th touchdown pass of the season to give the Rams an early lead.

ZUERLEIN’S ABSENCE FELT

Special teams coordinator John Fassel said on Thursday that L.A. wouldn’t ask new kicker Sam Ficken to do anything outside of his comfort zone. But early on, injured kicker Greg Zuerlein’s absence was undoubtedly felt.

On Los Angeles’ first drive, the offense stalled leaving the club with a 4th-and-10 from the Tennessee 33. Instead of attempting a 50-yard field goal, the Rams lined up Johnny Hekker to punt. He initially took a delay of game, which the Titans declined. Then Hekker got into a shotgun formation, looked to his left, and fired a deep pass to wide receiver Mike Thomas. The ball was batted away and fell incomplete.

Then after Los Angeles’ first touchdown, Ficken’s first regular-season PAT attempt was wide right.

And his second kick, a 36-yard field goal, hit off the right upright and was no good.