Rams News: Todd Gurley Assesses Week 1 Performance And Praises Malcolm Brown

Since the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl loss in February, great attention has been paid to Todd Gurley and his arthritis in his left knee.

With the first game of the season out of the way, Gurley proved that he still has what it takes to be an elite running back in this league, helping the Rams kill the clock with some big runs in their Week 1 road victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Despite Gurley’s 97 yards on 14 attempts, including one 25 yard rush, he was not able to find pay dirt, deferring to backup running back Malcolm Brown in the red zone and Bown scored two of the Rams’ three touchdowns on the day.

While a lot of running backs would be unhappy to give way to their back up, Gurley was excited for Brown’s performance, via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN:

“You seen the game, you seen how he did. He did damn good. Malcolm’s a great running back, he’s been here the same amount of time as me and he went in there and did his thing like he always do.”

Brown went undrafted during the 2015 NFL Draft while Gurley was taken 10th overall. Brown’s two touchdowns mark his single-game record and are just his second and third rushing touchdowns of his career.

The Rams paid up to keep Brown this offseason after he received a two-year $3.3 million offer from the Detroit Lions. The Rams matching that offer may be one of their most important moves of the offseason.

Despite notching only seven fewer yards than he did in the 2018 season opener, Gurley had a somewhat strange game. Only five of his 14 carries occurred in the first half, including no carries at all in the Rams opening drive. That left him fresh to close out the game in the fourth quarter though.

When asked if he was okay having a larger workload in the second half, Gurley responded jokingly:

“Nah I told coach don’t give me the ball. Of course, I’m a running back, bro. That’s what we do, we run the ball.”

It will be interesting to see how Gurley’s snap count changes in each matchup. The Rams made it known that managing his workload throughout the season will be one of their top priorities.

In Week 1, Gurley played 53 snaps while Brown got 21 and rookie Darrell Henderson got just two. The redzone work went to Brown as he got five touches down there compared to zero for Gurley and one for Henderson.

Head coach Sean McVay revealed that we decided throughout the course of the game and should change week to week, via Dan Graziano of ESPN:

Final numbers for Rams RBs:

Gurley: 14 carries, 97 yards
Brown: 11 carries, 53 yards, 2 TDs
Henderson: 1 carry, 0 yards

Gurley had eight carries for 64 yards in the fourth quarter. McVay said that wasn’t necessarily the plan but the way the game went, could change week to week.

— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) September 8, 2019

While there may be no specific plan in place, the Rams got the job done on the ground once again en route to their first victory of the season over the Panthers. The Rams return to Los Angeles next Sunday for a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints.

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