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ATLANTA — One of these two things has to be true: Either the Los Angeles Rams are lying about Todd Gurley’s injury status, or they got to the NFC championship and Super Bowl and suddenly decided C.J. Anderson was the better player.
The disappearance of Gurley from the Rams offense was weird in the NFC title game and downright peculiar for Super Bowl LIII. Gurley, one of the best players in the NFL, didn’t appear on the injury report before the NFC championship game but barely played against the Saints. Rams coach Sean McVay said it was a “game flow” issue, and not related to a knee injury Gurley suffered in Week 15. Then, with an extra week to rest before the Super Bowl, he wasn’t on the injury report again.
The Rams insisted all week that Gurley was healthy. While that is very, very hard to believe based on his usage in the playoffs, it became one of the weirdest storylines in the first half of Super Bowl LIII. Through the first quarter-and-a-half of the Super Bowl, Anderson had four carries and Gurley had one. Over the last two seasons Gurley has 3,924 yards from scrimmage and 40 touchdowns; he shouldn’t be splitting time with anyone.
Gurley finally got his second carry with a little more than six minutes let in the half and gained 5 yards. So he was healthy enough to play. Just not play much.
Todd Gurley a non-factor early in Super Bowl
Gurley was a non-factor in the NFC championship game, getting only one touch after halftime. He insisted his knee wasn’t an issue. McVay said this week that Gurley was fully healthy and would be a big part of the Rams’ Super Bowl gameplan.
And yet, Gurley was mostly in the same spot he was for the NFC title game, on the sideline watching Anderson, who has played pretty well for the Rams but it was still inexplicable why he was playing over Gurley when the Rams needed a boost on offense. Los Angeles had one first down and 29 yards in the first quarter. They finished the first half with two first downs and 57 yards.
Maybe Gurley, a two-time All-Pro and an MVP candidate before his knee injury, could have helped.
Rams offense stalls in first half
Gurley’s second and third carries gained 8 yards, but then Jared Goff took a sack on third down and the Rams punted.
The Rams did practically nothing on offense in a strange first half. Both defenses were strong, but neither offense executed well. It was the second-lowest scoring first half in Super Bowl history. The Rams in particular got nothing going on offense in the first half.
It was strange to see McVay’s offense stuck in such a big game. It was even stranger that his best offensive player was barely involved.
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