By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — In Super Bowl LIII, the Patriots held Todd Gurley — unquestionably one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in the NFL — to just 34 total yards on 11 touches. As it turns out, the All-Pro running back might have been injured more than anybody knew.
Fellow Rams running back C.J. Anderson went on “Undisputed” on Tuesday and told Skip Bayless that Gurley was certainly dealing with an injury late in the Rams’ postseason run.
“He was more hurt than what we thought,” Anderson said. “The injury was a little bit more than what everybody in the building thought, including himself.”
Anderson didn’t specify what the injury was, but he speculated it was likely a sprained knee.
“He’d never really tell me. It was tough. I would say sprained knee,” Anderson said. “Obviously it was the same knee injury he had before in his career. Obviously I had surgery on my meniscus, and once you have a knee [injury], you always have a knee [injury]. So it’s just, if he was getting a lot of touches early in the year, obviously him being one of the best running backs, that probably was the case.”
The Rams didn’t list a single player on their injury report for the NFC Championship Game against the Saints. Anderson said that Gurley essentially decided to be the lead back in the NFC title game against the Saints, when he rushed for just 10 yards on four carries, caught one pass for three yards, and dropped another pass that led to an interception.
The Rams insisted after that game that Gurley was healthy, and Gurley was not listed at all on the injury report in the week leading up to Super Bowl LIII. In that game, obviously, Gurley was equally ineffective.
After the 13-3 Super Bowl loss, Rams coach Sean McVay insisted that Gurley was fully healthy.
“Yes, he is,” McVay said. “Todd is healthy, and we just didn’t really get a chance to get anybody going today offensively, and that starts with me.”
If the NFL determines that the Rams failed to disclose a known injury to Gurley, the team could face a fine — or worse.
“A violation of the [Personnel Report] policy may result in Commissioner discipline, which may include a fine on the involved club, fines or suspensions of involved individuals, as well as the possible forfeiture of draft choices by the involved club,” the rules state.
Gurley amassed 1,831 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns in 14 regular-season games, and he rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ divisional round win over the Cowboys. In the championship game and Super Bowl combined, he averaged just 3.2 yards per carry while catching two passes for a total of two yards.
Anderson, like McVay, didn’t blame the Super Bowl loss entirely on the Gurley injury.
“I think Bill [Belichick] does a great job of putting his team in the right position,” Anderson said. “They played great gap control against us. They gave us some different coverages that was not shown on tape. I mean, 90 percent, if anybody wants to go back and watch the Super Bowl, if you watch their season, 90 percent they’ve been in man [coverage]. They played a little zone here but they probably played 80 percent zone against us. Just maybe because they didn’t think they had the best matchups.
“I think they slowed down a lot of our big plays, and it was kind of frustrating,” Anderson added. “That’s kind of how the game went. It sucks.”