The star running back who tallied 1,831 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns during the regular season was limited to 10 carries for 35 yards and one catch for a one-yard loss in New England’s 13-3 win.
From change of pace to playoff mystery
When Anderson rushed for 123 yards and Gurley 115 yards in L.A.’s divisional-round win over the Dallas Cowboys, the change of pace looked like a stroke of genius from head coach Sean McVay.
When Gurley only saw four carries for 10 yards in a close win over the Saints in the NFC championship game, red flags went up. Something was clearly wrong.
Rams said Todd Gurley was healthy
But the Rams insisted all was well. Gurley wasn’t listed on injury reports ahead of games, and the team reported that the knee injury that sidelined Gurley for the last two weeks of the regular season was no longer a factor.
“He is [healthy],” McVay said. “I never enabled him to get into a rhythm offensively. … I think a lot of it was a result of some of the things they did, but a lot of it was play selection. I was not pleased at all for my feel for the flow of the game and kind of making some adjustments as the game unfolded. … I certainly didn’t do good enough for us, but Todd is healthy.”
C.J. Anderson says Todd Gurley was hurt
For the first time since the Super Bowl, we’re hearing contradictory information from inside the team indicating that Gurley was still dealing with knee issues.
It came Wednesday from Anderson, who opened up about Gurley’s struggles with Skip Bayless on “Undisputed.”
So Gurley wasn’t right, according to his backfield mate. Anderson said that Gurley didn’t talk with him about his injury, but speculated he was dealing with a sprained knee when prompted by Bayless.
“Yeah, he’d never really tell me,” Anderson said. “It was tough. I would say sprained knee. Obviously, it’s the same knee injury he’s had before in his career. Obviously I had surgery on my meniscus, and once you have a knee, you always have a knee. So it aggravates, and if he was getting a lot of touches earlier in the year — obviously him being one of the best running backs, that probably was the case.”
What Anderson told Bayless confirms what appeared obvious to everyone watching the Rams through the playoffs. There was no rational explanation for the team not using one of the game’s greatest weapons when the stakes were the highest other than injury.
Why would Rams hide a Gurley injury?
It all begs the question, why? Why wouldn’t the Rams open up about Gurley’s status? Why would they take the risk of significant penalty for inaccurate information on an injury report instead of simply listing Gurley as questionable or probable?
Was McVay so wary of giving Bill Belichick a competitive advantage that he would rather hide Gurley’s injury?
It seems unlikely barring something more significant than lingering struggles from a knee sprain surfacing that we’ll ever get a straight answer from the Rams about Gurley’s health.
And the Rams may rue Anderson’s candidness that contradicts the company line.
But between watching the Rams and hearing Anderson’s comments Wednesday, it’s not hard to do the math.