CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Malcolm Brown’s mindset has always been the same since his rookie season: Prepare to the best of his abilities, so that whenever his number is called, all he has to do is perform.
It paid off in a big way on Sunday.
The Rams called on the backup running back often in their 30-27 win over the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium, to the tune of 11 carries for 53 yards and a team-high two rushing scores. For perspective, he only had two career touchdowns – one rushing, one receiving – heading into the contest.
While there were many contributors to the victory, it likely doesn’t come to fruition without Brown stepping up.
“When my coaches and my teammates all have the confidence in me to run the ball and perform and do what I do, it’s a great feeling,” Brown said. “Glad we came out with the win.”
Brown had an idea that he would have some sort of role against the Panthers, he just didn’t know how big it would be. His involvement arrived quickly, but not surprisingly, he was ready.
Rams LB Samson Ebukam tipped Panthers’ QB Cam Newton’s backwards pass intended for WR D.J. Moore, resulting in a fumble after the ball slipped through Moore’s hands. Ebukam recovered at the Carolina 10-yard line, giving Los Angeles excellent field position in opponent territory early in the second quarter.
Two carries later, Brown was in the endzone for L.A.’s first touchdown of the game.
“Whenever they call (on) me, I’m just going to do my job,” Brown said.
Starter Todd Gurley had only five carries for eight yards in the first half, but Brown’s ability to spell him throughout the game helped him stay fresh enough to reach 14 carries for 97 yards by the end of the game, including the game-clinching carries on the final possession.
Together, the duo accounted for 150 of the Rams’ 166 total rushing yards.
“To see those guys come back and run the way they did, I think it just shows the level of commitment they have to being good football players,” right guard Austin Blythe said. “We knew in camp what what we had in Todd and Malcolm, and even Darrell (Henderson Jr.) coming in for a few plays.”
The usage of both backs was dictated by the flow of the game, according to Rams head coach Sean McVay, and indicative of the confidence the team has in them.
Thanks to his preparedness, Brown was able to reinforce that belief and do his part.
“Really, our running back room as a whole was outstanding,” McVay said.