THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In a season that – early on, at least – Rams head coach Sean McVay feels comfortable rotating three running backs, there's no telling which one is in store for a big performance.
How does Darrell Henderson Jr. personally approach that uncertainty?
"Stay ready so you don't have to get ready," Henderson told reporters during a video conference Monday morning. "That's always been my mindset."
It proved effective on Sunday in Philadelphia.
After Malcolm Brown led Los Angeles' rushing attack with 18 carries for 79 yards and two scores and chipped in three receptions for 31 yards in Week 1, it was Henderson who buoyed the L.A.'s backfield in Week 2. Taking over for an injured Cam Akers, Henderson poured in 121 yards from scrimmage on 12 touches, plus one touchdown in the Rams' 37-19 win at the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I just went out there and played my game," Henderson said. "I did everything they asked me to do, and just stayed consistent and stayed patient."
Finding a rhythm took a few snaps, but once Henderson found it, the Rams' offense was tough to stop – especially in the second half.
A 33-yard field goal by Eagles kicker Jake Elliott cut the Rams' lead to five with 5:07 remaining in the fourth quarter. On the ensuing offensive series for the Rams, Henderson took the handoff and ran 40 yards to the Eagles 35-yard line. The big run helped set up a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jared Goff to tight end Tyler Higbee to give Los Angeles a more comfortable 31-19 lead.
Facing 3rd and 9 from the Philadelphia 30 with 3:52 remaining, Henderson hauled in a 28-yard pass from Goff for the conversion. Henderson finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to push the Rams ahead 37-19.
"I was really pleased with Darrell Henderson. I thought he was a real bright spot for us, making some plays in the run and the pass game," McVay said in his postgame video conference. "That was something that (running backs) coach (Thomas) Brown and I had talked about this week. We were not surprised to see that, but it was really good for him to do that."
Henderson says the big plays were a credit to the blocking by L.A.'s offensive line and the rest of his teammates.
"It started up front," Henderson said. "They gave me a great push."
Henderson had limited opportunities as a rookie in 2019 while playing behind Malcolm Brown and Todd Gurley for the majority of the season. The biggest chunk of his production last year came in the middle of the campaign, when a quad injury forcing Gurley to miss Week 6 and an ankle injury sidelining Brown in Weeks 7 and 8 temporarily elevated his role.
For Goff, Henderson seeing his most significant action since that time was a welcome sight.
"He did a great job," Goff said. "He's a player that we love, and love in a lot of different ways. Throw to ball to him, run the ball with him. There are certain runs we love with him. It was exciting to see him get his chance to shine a bit."
The Los Angeles Rams kickoff Week 2 at Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Philadelphia Eagles.