The Rams still have something to play for in Week 17. A victory secures L.A. a first-round bye, and a potential extra week for Gurley’s knee to heal. A loss coupled with a Chicago win would mean McVay’s team would be playing Wild Card Weekend.
The prospect of holding out Gurley for the season finale is much easier to swallow for the Rams after watching backup C.J. Anderson come off the couch to gallop for 167 rushing yards and a TD on 20 carries in Sunday’s blowout victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
“He just had a great way about himself this week. Really impressed with how quickly he was able to pick things up and just watching him, being a fan of this game, and seeing the production that he’s had throughout the course of his career,” McVay said, via the team’s official website. “I think he sees things well, I think when he puts his foot in the ground he’s decisive, levels off, he finishes falling forward – I thought he had some really tough runs in some short-yardage situations as well that were big-time conversions for us. Then he was able to pop the long one when we were backed up right there. But he did a great job and there’s certainly some things that we can learn from, but the game isn’t too big.”
Anderson’s 167 yards fell one shy of his career-high and were the second-most by a Rams running back in the past 10 years (Gurley’s 208 earlier this season is the only game better). According to ELIAS, Anderson became the first player in NFL history with 100-plus rush yards in his first game with a team in a season, with that game coming after Thanksgiving.
With Anderson proving to be more than capable of running McVay’s scheme, the Rams don’t need to rush Gurley back unless he truly is 100 percent.
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