Todd Gurley made the most heads-up play of Week 8 when he didn’t score a touchdown. The Rams were clinging to a 29-27 lead against the Packers with 1:05 left in the game. On third down, Gurley picked up 17 yards and had a free path to the end zone.
Instead he ... just stopped:
Todd Gurley seals the game with a first down and the Rams are 8-0 @TG3II pic.twitter.com/gx2zVNbJky— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 28, 2018
It seemed like an unusual moment for the NFL’s leading rusher, the guy who has accounted for more points than the Bills this season. He could have scored his second touchdown of the game instead of just pulling up at the four-yard line.
But it was the smart thing to do. The Packers had no timeouts left, so the Rams could just kneel it out, sealing a game they never had full control over and preserving their perfect record. If Gurley had scored, the Rams would’ve have given the ball back to Aaron Rodgers, which is never, ever, ever a good idea, even if they had a nine-point lead with a minute left. Rodgers, like life, always finds a way.
Not everyone was happy with Gurley’s decision though — especially people who like to make money off football. The Rams had been a 9.5-point favorite, but late betting on the Packers moved that line to 7. So a 9-point win would’ve paid off for some of those gamblers.
Todd Gurley going down on his own at the 4 instead of scoring a TD for the likely cover by the Rams over the Packers resulted in a $1 million-plus swing at LV sports books: mid 6 figures @WilliamHillUS and @MGMRaceSports 6 figures @SuperBookUSA lil less than 6 @CaesarsEnt #RJnow— Todd Dewey (@tdewey33) October 29, 2018
The final score also was juuuust under the 57 total, but it would’ve been over if Gurley had added that touchdown.
And then there are those poor fantasy owners, who only got [checks stats] oh, 114 rushing yards, 81 receiving yards, and a touchdown from Gurley on Sunday. That’s 15 touchdowns Gurley has given them this year, and now they’ll have to wait a whole week for another because of this:
sorry, fantasy football players— SB Nation (@SBNation) October 28, 2018
-Todd Gurley, probably pic.twitter.com/JMSI5Fquit
“I’m sure some of his fantasy owners won’t be happy, but that was a great job by Todd for the win,” Rams coach Sean McVay said after the game.
Gurley doesn’t care, though. He helped get the Rams to 8-0:
October 29, 2018
What Gurley said after the game is a big reason why the Rams are still undefeated midway through the season. They’re well coached, and they don’t beat themselves. Via Turf Show Times:
“Yeah, we go over this stuff every week. We know what to do in what situations. That’s what makes us the team that we are – unselfish players, situational masters – that’s what it’s all about, just having that edge. It’s not all about talent or whatever. You know you can always beat somebody by just knowing the situations of the game. We don’t want to give 12 (Packers QB Aaron Rodgers) back the ball.”
Gurley’s done it before, too. In his rookie year, he had a chance to score his first NFL touchdown, but he held up to help to secure a Rams victory.
It’s a shame he’s a running back because otherwise Gurley could be the NFL MVP frontrunner. He’s leading the NFL again with 1,151 yards from scrimmage and is a 224-pound back who has the hands and sideline awareness of an All-Pro wide receiver:
After review... CATCH!— NFL (@NFL) October 28, 2018
: FOX #LARams pic.twitter.com/xOQ46UQ5hp
Alas, he might just have to settle for NFL Offensive Player of the Year for the second year — assuming that the one touchdown he so shrewdly refused to score doesn’t cost him. It won’t, even if cost others on Sunday.