The Huddle: Todd Gurley gets it done for fantasy and charity as Rams gear up for playoffs

The Los Angeles Times’ Gary Klein and Lindsey Thiry preview the Rams’ Week 17 game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Coliseum.

Visit “The Huddle” during the Rams’ season for the latest in NFL news, notes, conversation and opinion.

This is notable

The Rams lead the NFL in scoring, averaging 31 points a game, with one game remaining Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. If the Rams maintain their mark and stay ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles, who are averaging 30.5, they will have gone from the worst scoring team in 2016, averaging 14 points, to the best.



There’s no place like home... Or is there?

The Rams are 7-1 on the road, or 8-1 if counting their home game against the Arizona Cardinals at Twickenham Stadium in London.

They’re 3-3 at the Coliseum.

When the Rams finished 12-4 in 2003 and won the NFC West, all four losses came on the road. And in 2001, when they went 14-2 and appeared in the Super Bowl, they were 8-0 on the road.


Social status

Last season, Michael Gehlken, then the Chargers beat reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune, spawned an idea that is catching on.

Gehlken suggested that fantasy football owners who win their league donate a portion of their prize money to a charity supported by a well-performing player on their squad.

Last week, Rams running back Todd Gurley helped countless owners win their league when he rushed for 118 yards and caught 10 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over the Tennessee Titans.

Gurley supported Shriner’s Hospitals for Children in the NFL’s Week 13 “My Cleats, My Cause” campaign, and this week Shriner’s saw a spike in donations.

By Friday afternoon, a Shriner’s spokesperson told The Times that more than $20,000 had been donated in Gurley’s name.



Rams star players spread holiday cheer throughout the locker room last week.

Quarterback Jared Goff gave teammates Yeti coolers, left tackle Andrew Whitworth gifted the team Ugg slippers and Gurley gave offensive linemen XBox One X consoles.

The running back also shopped for gifts to give to players in his position group.

For Sam Rogers, a rookie fullback on the practice squad, that meant a pair of Gucci designer flip-flops.

Gurley said he bought Rogers something he’d never buy for himself. And he was correct.

Rogers laughed and said he’s never been inside a designer store, but he’s happy to sport the style.


Hot off the presser

“People seem to like us a bit more nowadays. It’s nice winning. They say winning fixes everything and certainly we’ve won quite a bit this year, so we have built that fan base a little bit and have built the kind of family feel in the Coliseum now.”

— Jared Goff

At the 2016 season opener, more than 90,000 Angelenos welcomed the Rams back to L.A., but as they stumbled to a 4-12 finish, fan interest waned.

Slowly, but surely, it’s coming back.

The Rams are set to make their first playoff appearance since 2004 and throughout L.A. more Rams gear is spotted by the day.


“I do a little bit, but obviously it’s not me. Obviously here it’s Sean McVay.”

-- Wade Phillips

The Rams defensive coordinator said he takes pride that eight consecutive teams have made it to the playoffs in his first year coaching with the organization, but Phillips credited McVay for the feat in L.A. since the first-year coach turned around the league’s worst offense. Phillips inherited a defense that gave up 24.6 points a game, but has improved to only allow 19.7 this season.

Overheard in the locker room

The Rams have a 24-hour rule that allows them to celebrate a victory, or lament a loss, before moving on to their next opponent.

But as the team prepared for the 49ers this week there was still buzz about their 27-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans that clinched the NFC West.

On Thursday, there was an excitable discussion as to who wore their championship hat and T-shirt the longest.

Trumaine Johnson: Man, I just took mine off two days ago, I slept in it!

Alec Ogletree: I damn near showered in it!

Johnson: I showered, then put it back on!

Follow Lindsey Thiry on Facebook and Twitter @LindseyThiry

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