Anderson and Gurley were the first pair of running back teammates to run for 100 yards in a playoff game together since 1997, when Denver’s Terrell Davis and Derek Loville each topped 100 yards in a playoff win over Jacksonville. (Other teams have had two 100-yard rushers in the playoffs since, but only when one was a quarterback.)
After the game, both coaches cited the two running backs as key to the Rams’ success.
“I thought C.J. and Todd both were outstanding. I thought the offensive line was great from the start,” Rams coach Sean McVay said.
“We did not do a good enough job defending the run, obviously,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “I think there’s a little bit of misperception about how the Rams play offensive football: It starts with the run. They do an outstanding job, week in and week out. And we just didn’t do a good enough job controlling the line of scrimmage, winning our gaps and tackling. Unfortunately for us they were able to run the ball consistently throughout the ball game. They were able to control the tempo of the game because of that.”
What’s been fascinating over the Rams’ last three games is how Anderson — who has been cut by three different teams in the last 10 months — has been every bit as effective as Gurley, who signed a four-year, $60 million contract last offseason. If the Rams can run the ball just as well with a guy they picked up off the street, it raises the question of why they should be paying so much for Gurley.
That’s been a story around the NFL this year, whether it’s the Steelers getting the same level of production from James Conner as they got from Le'Veon Bell, or the Broncos getting a great season from an undrafted rookie in Phillip Lindsay: Teams can run the ball just as well with low-drafted, low-paid running backs as they can with highly drafted, highly paid stars. It won’t be easy for running backs to get paid this offseason as teams notice that there’s no drop-off in production from a highly paid running back like Gurley to a free agent off the street like Anderson.