An­der­son, Gur­ley power Rams to win over Cow­boys

The Arizona Republic - - Nfl - Greg Beacham

LOS AN­GE­LES – C.J. An­der­son rushed for 123 yards and two touch­downs, and Todd Gur­ley rushed for 115 more yards and an­other TD in the Los An­ge­les Rams’ first play­off vic­tory in 14 years, 30-22 over the Dal­las Cow­boys in the di­vi­sional round on Satur­day night.

Gur­ley and An­der­son pun­ished the Cow­boys’ nor­mally sturdy run de­fense and sent the sec­ond-seeded Rams (14-3) to the NFC cham­pi­onship game for the first time in 17 years. Los An­ge­les racked up a franchise play­off-record 273 yards on the ground – also the most ever al­lowed in the post­sea­son by the Cow­boys, who were play­ing in their NFL-record 63rd post­sea­son game.

The long-strug­gling Rams had won only one post­sea­son game since their last trip to the Su­per Bowl in Fe­bru­ary 2002, but 32-year-old coach Sean McVay has added his first play­off vic­tory to his spec­tac­u­lar two-sea­son franchise turn­around.

Ezekiel El­liott rushed for a TD and Amari Cooper caught an early TD pass for the Cow­boys (11-7), who still haven’t won a play­off game on the road in 26 years. Af­ter win­ning the NFC East and beat­ing Seat­tle last week, Dal­las lost in the di­vi­sional play­off round for the sixth con­sec­u­tive time and fell short of its first trip to the NFC cham­pi­onship game since Jan­uary 1993.

Next week­end, the Rams will face the win­ner of the other di­vi­sional play­off game in New Or­leans be­tween the topseeded Saints and the de­fend­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pion Philadel­phia Ea­gles.

The Rams are one win away from an­other Su­per Bowl trip af­ter McVay’s high-fly­ing, in­ven­tive of­fense largely kept it on the ground, me­thod­i­cally pun­ish­ing the Cow­boys’ nor­mally sturdy run de­fense with their un­likely run­ning back tan­dem. “It’s scary,” An­der­son said. “We’ve got two dif­fer­ent styles, and we can keep teams off bal­ance.”

The Cow­boys, hadn’t al­lowed two 100-yard rush­ers in a play­off game since the NFL-AFL merger.

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