GURLEY ADMITS RUSH TITLE IS BIG
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.”