SEATTLE — Last week, running back Todd Gurley recorded 96 yards rushing on 13 carries. He had 135 yards from scrimmage, too, as the Rams fell to the Eagles.
Gurley receiving only 16 touches in that game became a talking point early on in the week, with head coach Sean McVay going as far as telling the media, "You can't keep standing up here and saying the same things, you've just got to get it fixed. That's something that I've got to be mindful of."
Well, McVay and the Rams came out with what appeared to be a clear objective to get their star running back in a rhythm and it paid dividends. Gurley ended the first half with 144 yards rushing — the most of any player in the first two quarters this season — and three touchdowns, leading L.A. to a 34-0 halftime lead.
"I mean, obviously coach made a big emphasis of running the ball and we were able to get efficient runs," Gurley said.
Calling the runs "efficient" might be an understatement. Gurley would end up with 24 touches for 180 yards and four total touchdowns in Los Angeles' 42-7 beatdown of the Seahawks.
After the game, McVay said, "I think you certainly don't want to make the same mistake again and Todd makes you right.
"Our offensive line did a great job of creating some movement against a great front," McVay continued. "Todd was seeing things the right way, guys were creating and blocking on the perimeter form, and he is a special back. You see when he gets in space how explosive he is."
That sentiment was perhaps never more true than late in the second quarter. On 3rd-and-20 from the L.A. 43 with just 37 seconds left in the half, quarterback Jared Goff handed off to the running back who burst through the hole to go 57 yards to pay dirt.
"Coach called an outside zone play, seeing those guys, at least like 15-yards back I'm like, 'I am at least getting 15 yards,'" Gurley said. "I saw Earl [Thomas], and Rodger [Saffold] got up on him and I was able to cut it up field and you know the rest was just open field. So credit to coach on a great play call and Rodger and everybody doing their job."
It was Gurley's longest run since his rookie year in 2015, and one which the Georgia product showed his elite speed and athleticism.
"When I handed it off, I was like, 'This could go for maybe 15-20.' And I turn around and sure enough, he put it into that extra gear he's got and ran it by everybody," Goff said. "It was a good way to end the half."
Goff added that when Gurley's running as he was on Sunday, it makes his job as a quarterback significantly easier.
"I was saying this, it is nice handing the ball off and — there he goes again," Goff said. "It seems to happen more often than not, but today especially, you know every time a run play came in, I was like, 'Alright we have a good one, we have a good one.'"
According to left tackle Andrew Whitworth, getting the run game going as the Rams did on Sunday — the club had a total of 244 yards rushing on 43 carries, by far a season high — is one of the elements that has been missing on the road as of late.
"Honestly getting him going on the road was a huge emphasis and if we can get him being exposed and doing what he does to turn up those yards, it makes the whole offense have the opportunity to move faster and better," Whitworth said of Gurley. "He definitely sets the tone for us. That was a good job of coming and executing the plan to get him going."
Now with 1,817 yards from scrimmage and a league-leading 17 total touchdowns, does Gurley warrant MVP consideration? According to Goff he certainly does.
"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," Goff said. "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. He deserves everything that is coming his way, but I think best thing about him is he couldn't care less about that and he is super excited about this game."
And that's how Gurley framed the victory postgame. The team-oriented running back spoke much more about how well everyone on the team played than just himself.
"The linemen did a great job — even the receivers, you know those guys are blocking their tails off, [Tyler] Higbee, Derek [Carrier], Gerald [Everett], everybody," Gurley said. "Everybody did their job and we were able to come up with the victory just like we wanted."