We've seen Todd Gurley do this before.
Late in the game, the Rams are in a four-minute situation trying to run out the clock on their opponent, the running back breaks a carry but then with no one left to beat, goes down instead of running into the end zone for a touchdown.
When that came up in the Week 8 victory over Green Bay, the Packers had no remaining timeouts and L.A. was holding on to a two-point lead.
The situation was a little different on Sunday when Gurley halted what could've been a 38-yard touchdown at the two-yard line.
Back in October, the Rams had talked through the potential outcomes of the play calling it a "Rolex" situation — the time was more important than the points. Because Green Bay had no remaining timeouts and couldn't again stop the clock, the only way for the game to not be over was for L.A. to score so that the Packers could get the ball back. So, Gurley went down even though he had a clear touchdown in front of him.
On Sunday, the Rams were up by seven, Detroit had one remaining timeout plus the two-minute warning, and Los Angeles was all the way back at the home team's 38. And so according to quarterback Jared Goff, there was no such discussion before Gurley's long run on 3rd-and-3.
"You can talk about it either way — you can say you score, go up 14 guaranteed and they don't have to use their timeout and I think they still have maybe the two-minute warning at that point," Goff explained. "But instead you go down at the one — our chances of scoring are still pretty high there — they use their timeout, the two-minute warning hits, and it puts them in a bad spot.
"For him to think about that — the Packers one we talked about, [this] one we never talked about," Goff continued. "We were so far away, so we never said, 'Hey if you break one here, sit it down,' but he just knew that on his own and that's just what makes him so special. And, like I said, so lucky that he is in the backfield."
Gurley was then able to punch it in from two-yards out after another run for no gain that put the game at the two-minute warning. That meant Detroit got the ball back down 14 with no way to stop the clock.
Head coach Sean McVay also credited Gurley for his situational mastery on the initial run, and then the running back's physical ability to get his 15th rushing touchdown on the season. Gurley ended Sunday with 165 yards from scrimmage (132 rushing, 33 receiving) — the sixth time he's had at least 150 yards from scrimmage in a game in 2018.
"[A]nother representation of Todd Gurley's awareness, his selflessness — he gets it down and forced them to use all of their timeouts and then we decided we're going to actually punch it in right there just based on the situation and he does that," McVay said.
Gurley, however, was a little more blunt when discussing his mindset on the 36-yard run.
"Just trying to get the hell out of here to be honest," Gurley said, eliciting a few laughs from reporters. "It was a long day, the game was going slow, finally broke one, just wanted to waste some time, get some time off, and get up out of here."
Mission accomplished, to the tune of a 30-16 victory and a second straight NFC West title.