Though Todd Gurley is arguably the best running back in the NFL, it was Los Angeles Rams backup running back C.J. Anderson who stole the show in the team’s divisional round contest against the Dallas Cowboys.
While the Dallas Cowboys managed to push past the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, suffocating Chris Carson and one of the league’s best rushing attacks with their strong defense, they found it far more difficult to stymie the Los Angeles Rams running back tandem of Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson
This season, Gurley has been an absolute stud, roasting defenses for nearly 90 rushing yards per game and about five yards per pop. More impressively, Gurley had 17 rushing touchdowns in 14 appearances in Sean McVay’s offense, and the Rams head coach dialed up some more Gurley against the Cowboys.
Gurley was electric with 80 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, destroying a Cowboys defense that simply had no answers for him. And backup running back Anderson joined in the fun, too, posting 78 yards and a rushing score on 12 carries in a performance that was essentially equal to Gurley’s in the first half.
Thanks to their performances on the ground, the Rams jumped out to a dominating 20-7 lead despite a slow 11-21 first-half from young quarterback Jared Goff. The Cowboys had 40 rushing yards on nine attempts from their star rusher Ezekiel Elliott, but that total was just half of Gurley’s.
Anderson’s strong day may have taken some by surprise, but he’s clearly no slouch at the position, especially in the Rams elite offense. He was amazing in the last two weeks of the regular season starting for Gurley, blasting the rival Arizona Cardinals for 167 yards in Week 16 before pouring 154 yards from scrimmage on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17.
The former Denver Broncos star seems back to his old self after bouncing around a few teams earlier this season, and, once again, McVay has gotten the most out of a talented player when other NFL franchises failed.
Gurley is a monster at the running back position, but Anderson has showed his value by becoming a late-season hero for the Rams and a real X-Factor for this offense in the postseason. He should be a huge factor behind Gurley going forward, and while Goff has struggled of late, the Rams offense hasn’t missed a beat thanks to Anderson’s emergence.
Because of his strong displays, such as tonight’s game against the Cowboys, Anderson has likely set himself up for a decent payday. Still just 27, the former University of California standout is in the prime of his career, and Anderson truly is out to prove that teams shouldn’t have forgotten about what he can do in this league.