Math says Rams need to keep Todd Gurley in touch in order to make the offense go

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA NOVEMBER 11, 2018-Rams running back Todd Gurley points after a first down ag
The Rams’ Todd Gurley has rushed for 1,203 yards and scored a league-best 19 touchdowns.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Rams’ most dynamic offensive player got only 14 touches in his team’s Week 14 loss to the Chicago Bears.

But who’s counting?

Not, apparently, Todd Gurley.

The NFL’s second-leading rusher said Thursday that he does not have an ideal amount of carries or touches.


“Running backs, they always want the ball,” said Gurley, who has rushed for 1,203 yards and scored a league-best 19 touchdowns. “But not really like an ideal situation.”

Gurley said he was happy to see the ball go to whomever has the hot hand, be it passes by quarterback Jared Goff or carries or receptions for other players.

“If Goff is doing his thing, then hell yeah. Forget me, let Goff do his thing,” Gurley said. “We have a good offense of just being able to like balance stuff out.”

The problem for the Rams in their 15-6 loss to the Bears: Neither Goff nor anyone else on offense got hot or consistently performed well in 20-degree temperatures.


Gurley and the Rams are looking to change that Sunday when they play host to the Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia Eagles at the Coliseum.

The NFC West-champion Rams are 11-2, and can clinch a bye through the wild-card round of the playoffs with a victory over the Eagles (6-7).

Last season against the Eagles at the Coliseum, Gurley rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns in 13 carries. He also caught two passes for three yards.

But the Rams lost 43-35, continuing a pattern that has played out throughout Sean McVay’s nearly two seasons as coach. When Gurley gets about 25 touches, the Rams win. In regular-season losses, he has averaged 16.5 touches.

Against the Bears, Gurley rushed for 28 yards on 11 carries, and caught three passes for 30 yards. Afterward, he said “looked like a skunk” and the whole team gave a “sorry” performance.

McVay said this week that “when the ball is in Todd’s hands, good things happen,” and that he wished he had made some different play calls.

But Gurley favors a balanced approach in an offense that began this week ranked third in yards (422. 5 yards per game) and scoring (32.7 points per game).

“Obviously, last week nothing worked out,” he said, “but I feel like what we’ve been able to accomplish this whole year has been able to be good, whether if it’s the run game or the pass game or both.”


Asked if he was more impressed by the Bears’ defense, or more frustrated by the Rams inability to do what they wanted, Gurley said it was a little of both.

“I tell guys, I said, ‘Those guys were out there looking like the ’85 Bears defense,’ ” Gurley said, referring to the Bears’ dominating unit during a Super Bowl season.

Under McVay, the Rams have never lost consecutive regular-season games. So Gurley and his teammates are expected to bounce back against the Eagles.

The Eagles are coming off an overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but they remain in the hunt for a possible playoff berth.

“They’re the defending Super Bowl champions for a reason, and they’re still fighting to be in the playoffs so it’s going to be a critical game,” Gurley said. “We can’t just come in here and think we’re going to win.”


Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz reportedly is suffering from fractured vertebrae, but McVay said the preparation for Sunday’s game would not change. “They haven’t officially ruled him out, so you can’t say anything for certain,” McVay said. “You see and hear the reports that are out there. But like we’ve said, whether it’s Carson or whether it’s Nick Foles, doesn’t really change our approach.” Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said the Rams were preparing for Wentz. “If he doesn’t play, it doesn’t change their offense a whole lot,” Phillips said. “Their next quarterback was the MVP of the Super Bowl, so it’s not a big drop off for them, either.”… Linebacker Dante Fowler did not practice but the injury report said it was not injury related.


Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein