INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Through their first eight games, the Rams hadn't been able to deploy a balanced backfield approach with Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson Jr. and Cam Akers for various reasons.
Sometimes, one of the three got the hot hand and therefore commanded the lion's share of the carries or touches – see Henderson against the Bears, Washington, 49ers, Eagles, Bills; Brown against the Cowboys (though Brown found the endzone against the Bears). In other instances, it has been a matter of health – look no further than Akers' rib injury against the Eagles which forced him to miss the next two weeks and caused him to miss additional opportunities.
That changed Sunday against the Seahawks, with Henderson, Brown and Akers all contributing to the Rams' 23-16 Week 10 victory.
"Oh for sure. Just the ability to stay fresh as a running back group," Brown said in his postgame video conference, when asked if it helps if all three are able to get involved like they were against Seattle. "All of us, we have our different talents and run styles, to be able to set the pace as a running back group, get out there and stay fresh."
Brown rushed for a team-high two touchdowns in Sunday's win, also recording the second-most rushing yards (33). Each of those touchdowns helped the Rams gain a double-digit lead. Though he had the fewest rushing attempts of the rotation, he was the most efficient of the bunch with an average of 5.5 yards per carry. Brown also added a pair of receptions for 18 yards and displayed his usual steadiness as a pass-protector on blitzes.
"He's been doing that for a long time, which is the easy answer there," Rams quarterback Jared Goff said. "Ever since he was working with (Falcons RB) Todd (Gurley), when Malcolm would come in the game, I would never have any thought that there was any fall off. It was always very consistent, always good in pass protection, always smart with the ball. He's a really solid, solid back and we're lucky to have him."
Henderson had second-most carries (7) and third-most rushing yards (28), but still managed to score a 1-yard rushing touchdown, also chipping in a five-yard reception. Meanwhile, Akers' 10 rushing attempts for 38 yards led Los Angeles' backfield.
"(Akers) did a nice job," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "I thought there was really good space all day and I thought he leveled some runs off fairly well."
Altogether, the trio rushed for a combined 99 yards on 23 attempts in addition to those three scores, good for an average of 4.3 yards per carry against a Seahawks team that entered the contest with the NFL's No. 4 rush defense.
McVay's original vision for the backfield was this committee approach, with carries being allotted accordingly if a running back expressed himself in a way that warranted additional opportunities. While the latter is beneficial, it's still helpful to be able to rely on the former at times too.
"I think you're exactly right," Brown said, when a reporter asked if this is what that approach is supposed to feel like. "This is definitely what it feels like. It was fun. It was a whole lot of fun to just watch those young guys get out there, to get out there myself and do what I do. It was great."