In a “Monday Night Football” game that featured more than 100 points and more than 1,000 yards of offense, Rams running back Todd Gurley was relatively quiet.
The NFL’s leading rusher and scoring leader injured an ankle injury early in the Rams’ 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Rams coach Sean McVay said Tuesday.
Gurley rushed for 55 yards in 12 carries, and caught three passes for 39 yards. His 15 touches were nine fewer than his season average. And for the first time in 14 games dating to last season, he did not score a touchdown.
McVay said Gurley’s injury, sustained during the first quarter, limited the running back “a little bit” in a game that featured each team scoring more than 50 points for the first time in NFL history.
“It wasn’t anything that’s going to like prevent him from playing or anything like that,” McVay said during a teleconference with reporters. “But you could just see.
“And he’s so tough, he’s not going to say anything, but it bothered him a little bit.”
Gurley, the reigning NFL offensive player of the year, remains among the front-runners for the MVP award. He has rushed for 1,043 yards and has 17 touchdowns. He also has converted three two-point conversions.
“I know we're accustomed to seeing him get more opportunities and that's something that I've got to continue to make sure that I'm always doing a good job of,” McVay said. “But if the runs aren't there and some of those things, we've got to find ways to get him touches in the pass game.”
McVay on Tuesday was still feeling the excitement of a victory that improved the Rams’ record to 10-1. He said he had spent late Monday night at home with friends, watching game highlights.
“I would say right now is about the first time that I’m starting to wind down and be able to take a nap, hopefully, here soon,” he said Tuesday afternoon.
The Rams’ victory capped two emotional weeks for a team that dealt with the aftermath of a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, deadly fires that forced many players, coaches and staff to evacuate their homes, and a training trip to Colorado for a game in Mexico City that was switched to Los Angeles because of poor field conditions.
“The players did an outstanding job of handling what seems like two weeks that was about two years’ worth of things that they had to go through,” McVay said. “All they did was just handle it like pros and do everything the right way.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who attended Los Angeles Marshall High, complimented McVay after Monday night’s game.
“He did a great job preparing this team,” Reid said. “He’s doing a great job for the city of Los Angeles, which is important to me from being a fellow Angeleno, so I do appreciate all of the things that he’s doing for the city in a lot of different ways.”
After the game, Rams safety John Johnson said the conditioning the Rams achieved by staying in high-altitude Colorado Springs — rather than returning to Southern California after the NFL announced the game had been moved to Los Angeles — helped the Rams down the stretch against the Chiefs.
Several players, however, including receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Marcus Peters, came out of the game temporarily because of cramps.
“It makes me wonder: Did that make us cramp a little bit?” McVay said.
McVay, who spent much of the evening pacing and running the sideline, joked that “I felt like I had my good wind” during the game.
“I felt fresh,” he said. “I think I might have tweaked a calf but I don’t think that had any effect from being in Colorado.”
The Rams are now in the midst of an off week. Gurley, McVay and the rest of the Rams players and coaches will take time away from football before returning next Monday to begin preparing for the Detroit Lions.
The Rams can clinch the NFC West if the Seattle Seahawks lose to the Carolina Panthers.