GUR­LEY AD­MITS RUSH TI­TLE IS BIG

Ledger-Enquirer - - Front page - BY GARY KLEIN Los An­ge­les Times

With four games re­main­ing this sea­son, Todd Gur­ley leads the NFL with 1,175 yards rush­ing.

The mar­gin was only 22 yards. That’s how close Los An­ge­les Rams run­ning back Todd Gur­ley came to win­ning the NFL rush­ing ti­tle last sea­son af­ter coach Sean McVay held out starters in the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale to rest for the play­offs.

Gur­ley said at the time he was fine with the de­ci­sion.

“You’ve got to look at the big­ger pic­ture,” he said be­fore Ka­reem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs clinched the ti­tle with a 35-yard touch­down run in his only carry. Hunt had 1,327 yards, Gur­ley 1,305.

With four games re­main­ing this sea­son, Gur­ley again is in the race to fin­ish first. He leads the league with 1,175 yards rush­ing head­ing into the Rams’ game against the Chicago Bears on Sun­day night at Sol­dier Field.

On Wed­nes­day, Gur­ley was asked about last sea­son, and he ac­knowl­edged that fin­ish­ing on top of the rush­ing list would be mean­ing­ful.

“Yeah, I was ly­ing, I re­ally did care about the ti­tle,” Gur­ley said, chuck­ling, be­fore adding, “That would be a pretty cool thing to get.

“I tell peo­ple that all the time: It’s like you play for team goals, but who wouldn’t want to be the NFL sack leader? Who wouldn’t want to be the NFL pass­ing or rush­ing leader?”

The rush­ing ti­tle is only one achieve­ment Gur­ley is chas­ing for a Rams team that is 11-1, has

clinched the NFC West and is com­pet­ing for home-field ad­van­tage through the play­offs. Gur­ley could re­peat as NFL Of­fen­sive Player of the Year and is among the fa­vorites to win MVP.

In the Rams’ vic­tory at Detroit last Sun­day, Gur­ley rushed for 132 yards and two touch­downs in 23 car­ries and caught three passes for 33 yards.

“That’s kind of par for the course for him,” McVay said. “You don’t ever take it for granted.”

Gur­ley’s ef­fort moved him to the top of the rush­ing list ahead of the Dal­las Cow­boys’ Ezekiel El­liott, who has 1,149 yards. Gur­ley also leads the league with 19 touch­downs and 120 points.

Part of Gur­ley’s ef­fec­tive­ness stems from his abil­ity to avoid turnovers. In 233 car­ries, he has fum­bled once.

“I try not to even think about it,” Gur­ley said of his suc­cess, adding, “When you lose the ball, that’s like the worst feel­ing ever, be­cause you know ev­ery­body is talk­ing about you, even your team­mates.”

Ball se­cu­rity will be para­mount against the Bears. The fore­cast calls for tem­per­a­tures in the 20s, and the Bears lead the NFL with 30 take­aways. The Rams have lost only four fum­bles, tied for sec­ond fewest in the league.

It re­mains to be seen how McVay will han­dle Gur­ley’s play­ing time as the play­offs near.

“I’m just go­ing to fo­cus on these next cou­ple of games and what­ever hap­pens, hap­pens,” Gur­ley said. “I’m just happy that we were able to clinch a play­off spot and just go from there.”

Todd Gur­ley

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