The Rams gave Todd Gurley one of the biggest running back contracts in NFL history, and then he disappeared in the playoffs and nobody knows why

  • Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley played a limited role in the Super Bowl, carrying the ball 10 times for 35 yards for a second straight quiet game.
  • Gurley signed a $US60 million contract in the offseason and was the centrepiece of the Rams offence throughout the year, leading the league in touchdowns.
  • Gurley and the Rams insisted he was not injured, so if Gurley is healthy, it leaves one wondering why he was not a bigger part of the game plan, particularly in a game where the Rams offence sputtered.
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In a Super Bowl game where the Los Angeles Rams offence sputtered, it’s worth asking what happened to running back Todd Gurley.

For the second game in a row, Gurley was almost a non-factor for the Rams. Gurley finished with just 10 carries for 35 yards and one catch for a loss, at times looking like his usual, explosive self, at times appearing ineffective.

It’s unclear what happened to Gurley this postseason. All year long, Gurley was the centrepiece of the Rams offence. Before the season, the Rams signed him to a four-year, $US60 million contract, with $US45 million guaranteed. The deal was the biggest for a running back in the NFL and was expected to reset the market for top running backs.

Gurley delivered in the regular season, running for 1,251 yards with 17 touchdowns while adding 580 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air. He was the Rams’ workhorse and one of the most effective weapons in the NFL.

But Gurley’s touches suddenly disappeared in the NFC Championship, as he was out-carried by backup running back C.J. Anderson, who was signed off the street weeks prior.

After that game, Gurley said he was not hurt and was simply playing poorly. Rams head coach Sean McVay said he would have to involve Gurley more in the game plan for the Super Bowl.

Instead, Gurley didn’t play for large chunks of the Super Bowl. He ran on the first play of the opening drive and then did not get a touch until late in the first half. The Rams did not commit to the run much, and Gurley still led the team in carries, but nearly half of his 35 yards came on one 16-yard run.

During the game, CBS reported that the team did not say that Gurley was injured.

After the game, Gurley still insisted he was fine. Gurley told reporters he had an MRI on his knee in Week 15, but it came back clean. He said he wasn’t expecting to have offseason surgery.

Even before the game, Anderson told USA Today that Gurley was not injured and shot down rumours that Gurley was dealing with swelling in his knee.

It makes one wonder why the Rams suddenly left their most dynamic offensive playmaker out of the game plan so much. Either McVay and company suddenly thought Gurley would not be effective, or the team has hidden how much an injury could be bothering Gurley.

Would Gurley alone have made all the difference for the Rams? Probably not. But in a game where they only mustered 3 points, the possibility of picking up chunks of yards at a time or perhaps converting more first downs could have been helpful.