Rams reap­ing ben­e­fits from get­ting phys­i­cal

The Dallas Morning News - - News To Use | Cowboys / Nfl -

THOU­SAND OAKS, Calif. — The Los An­ge­les Rams have built a rep­u­ta­tion for cere­bral, clever play dur­ing two sea­sons of coach Sean Mcvay’s in­flu­en­tial of­fen­sive schemes. But one big dif­fer­ence be­tween last sea­son’s team, which lost its first play­off game, and this sea­son’s NFC cham­pi­onship-bound squad is the Rams’ team-wide em­brace of phys­i­cal, dis­rup­tive play.

These Rams have an at­ti­tude, and it’s tak­ing them far.

The Rams are in their first NFC ti­tle game in 17 years be­cause of the way they man­han­dled the Cow­boys on both sides of the line in their di­vi­sional play­off. Dal­las en­tered the game with one of the NFL’S top rush­ing de­fenses along with their own pow­er­ful rush­ing of­fense led by NFL rush­ing cham­pion Ezekiel El­liott, but the Rams dom­i­nated on the ground.

Los An­ge­les’ rush­ing of­fense was his­tor­i­cally good,

with C.J. An­der­son and Todd Gur­ley both top­ping 100 yards rush­ing on the way to a fran­chise-record 273.

The Rams’ de­fense spent most of the first half on the side­line watch­ing as their of­fen­sive line carved chunks out of the Dal­las de­fense. Los An­ge­les edge rusher Dante Fowler could only smile when left tackle An­drew Whit­worth led the block­ing for Gur­ley’s 35-yard touch­down run.

“They played very phys­i­cal, lights out,” Fowler said. “The in­ten­sity that Whit­worth brought, that set the tone. The block that he made for the touch­down ... that’s when I knew we were go­ing to win the game.”

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