When the then St. Louis Rams selected running back Todd Gurley with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, they knew they were getting a special one.
The first two seasons of Gurley’s career were a slow burn, as is the case for most backs. But once head coach Sean McVay took over for the Rams in 2017, now in Los Angeles, Gurley started to shine and show how important he was to the Rams offense.
Gurley became one of the highest-scoring offensive players for McVay’s first season and secured a huge payday for himself the next season which, at one point, made him the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
Then things took a turn for him and his career. On March 19, 2020, Gurley was released by the Rams.
Speculation was rampant as to the reasoning behind the release, mostly centered around Gurley's injured knee.
In the end, it's not really the Rams' concern anymore. The Atlanta Falcons took a flier on Gurley this offseason on a one-year contract and by all accounts, is excelling. Through nine games, he has nine rushing touchdowns and is eying a career-high, which is 17.
With Gurley gone, most people would think the Rams' biggest concern would be the running game. Well, it seems the Rams are doing just fine with what they got in the backfield.
The Rams are currently 5-3 and are 2nd in the NFC West with the Cardinals, who are both trail the Seahawks in the standings.
The workload for the Rams is split up between three backs: Starter Darrell Henderson Jr, Malcolm Brown, and rookie Cam Akers.
Henderson is leading the team in rushing with 458 yards through eight games. Both Brown and Henderson have three touchdowns on the ground. All three of Brown's TDs came in the Rams' Week 1 win over the Cowboys.
The Rams might not be as explosive than they were with Gurley, but each back brings their own piece of what Gurley brought in one package.
“They’ve stayed philosophically the same,” Pete Carroll said about the Rams run game on Wednesday. “When Gurley was really hot, he was hot in every phase of the game. He was a big-time receiver and a big-time guy on the screens, as well as all the runs. Such an effective player.
The Seahawks defense has been the biggest concern all season long - mainly on the passing side, where the team ranks dead last in the NFL.
Game planning for Goff is one thing, but linebacker Bobby Wagner isn’t taking his eyes of what the Rams can do with Gurley out of the picture.
“They still come down hill. Obviously Todd (Gurley) was a great players, still is a great player, but these other running backs run hard,” Said Bobby Wagner. “They kind of have a style with them, but at the end of the day they are still going to stretch you, get you out on perimeter, cut back and they are not going to run out of bounds. They are going to deliver a blow.
The game agains the Rams is a pivotal one for the Seahawks. Seattle started out hot in the beginning of the season, but the loss to the Cardinals and Bills do raise some concerns on if this team can keep up with opponents who also know how to score some points here and there.
The Rams will be the next test for the Seahawks on if they can figure out their problems on defense, and make the push for a Super Bowl this year.