Rams: Todd Gurley is the X-factor to a Super Bowl run

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Rams cemented themselves atop the NFC West with a 42-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Now, one man can make or break the team’s Super Bowl run.

Well, it looks like the Los Angeles Rams are going to end the Seattle Seahawks’ bid for a second consecutive NFC West Championship. Los Angeles dismantled Seattle, 42-7, in CenturyLink Field in front of the coveted 12th man. The Rams now hold a two-game lead over the Seahawks, and with just two more games (against the Titans and 49ers) the Rams look set.

The mauling that LA put on Seattle was behind one man; running back Todd Gurley. Before the game, we said that the Rams had to get creative with Gurley in order to win this game. They did just that and Gurley had a career game.

The third-year running back carried the ball 21 times for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Through the air, Gurley added three receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown. Overall, Gurley had 180 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. Gurley has 1817 all-purpose yards 17 total touchdowns on the season.

Heck, Gurley may have entered MVP discussion with his performance. He is easily on pace for over 2000 all-purpose yards and could even crack 20 total touchdowns. Although the award will ultimately go to Tom Brady, Gurley is making his case as the best running back in the league.

Whether or not he is the best is up to debate. However, what is hard to argue is that Gurley is a huge part of this high-powered Rams offense. Not only is Gurley a big part of the offense, he is the essential key to a Super Bowl win.

When Gurley succeeds the rest of the offense succeeds and the Rams succeed. Gurley has rushed for over 100 yards five times. The Rams are 5-0 in those games. Gurley has been targeted six or more times in the passing game seven times. The Rams are 7-0 in those games with a combined score of 246-141.

When Gurley is involved in all facets of the game, LA is virtually unstoppable. Six of the seven times Gurley was targeted six or more times the Rams scored 30 or more points. The lone exception was the team’s 26-20 win over the New Orleans Saints.

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The Rams have to march through some tough competition in the postseason in order to reach the Super Bowl. First will be a Wild Card game, where the Rams will likely face the Panthers or Falcons. Both rank in the top ten in preventing rushing yards.

However, when the two defenses let up the run the cookie begins to crumble. Of Carolina’s four losses three of which their opponent rushed for 100 or more yards. The same can be said for all five of the Falcons losses.

Then there is the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings. Both teams have scary good defenses, but both secondaries have cracked under pressure. Against those defenses, the Rams must get creative and use Gurley in the passing game as much as possible. With Nick Foles and Case Keenum as their opposition, a collapse seems inevitable.

Then, if the Rams make the Super Bowl they will likely face the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers. New England allows an average of 122.3 rushing yards per game. Pittsburgh is better at 101.1 but in their three losses allowed a combined 530 passing yards.

Next: Chargers blew AFC West in typical fashion

No matter their opponents weakness the Rams can attack the base with Todd Gurley. As he succeeds, the team will continue to succeed. If he can keep turning in performances like in week 15, the Rams may be marching straight to the Super Bowl.