C.J. Anderson: Todd Gurley 'was more hurt than we thought'

One of the great mysteries from the Los Angeles Rams’ stunning, tepid performance in their Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots was the disappearance of Todd Gurley.

The star running back who tallied 1,831 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns during the regular season was limited to 10 carries for 35 yards and one catch for a one-yard loss in New England’s 13-3 win.

It was a trend that carried over from the playoffs that saw newly signed C.J. Anderson lead the Rams in carries and rushing yards in wins over the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints.

From change of pace to playoff mystery

When Anderson rushed for 123 yards and Gurley 115 yards in L.A.’s divisional-round win over the Dallas Cowboys, the change of pace looked like a stroke of genius from head coach Sean McVay.

When Gurley only saw four carries for 10 yards in a close win over the Saints in the NFC championship game, red flags went up. Something was clearly wrong.

Rams said Todd Gurley was healthy

But the Rams insisted all was well. Gurley wasn’t listed on injury reports ahead of games, and the team reported that the knee injury that sidelined Gurley for the last two weeks of the regular season was no longer a factor.

The Rams maintained the line even after the Super Bowl.

“He is [healthy],” McVay said. “I never enabled him to get into a rhythm offensively. … I think a lot of it was a result of some of the things they did, but a lot of it was play selection. I was not pleased at all for my feel for the flow of the game and kind of making some adjustments as the game unfolded. … I certainly didn’t do good enough for us, but Todd is healthy.”

C.J. Anderson says Todd Gurley was hurt

For the first time since the Super Bowl, we’re hearing contradictory information from inside the team indicating that Gurley was still dealing with knee issues.

It came Wednesday from Anderson, who opened up about Gurley’s struggles with Skip Bayless on “Undisputed.”

“He was more hurt than what we thought,” Anderson said. “The injury was a little bit more than what everybody in the building thought, including himself.”

Sprained knee?

So Gurley wasn’t right, according to his backfield mate.  Anderson said that Gurley didn’t talk with him about his injury, but speculated he was dealing with a sprained knee when prompted by Bayless.

“Yeah, he’d never really tell me,” Anderson said. “It was tough. I would say sprained knee. Obviously, it’s the same knee injury he’s had before in his career. Obviously I had surgery on my meniscus, and once you have a knee, you always have a knee. So it aggravates, and if he was getting a lot of touches earlier in the year — obviously him being one of the best running backs, that probably was the case.”

What Anderson told Bayless confirms what appeared obvious to everyone watching the Rams through the playoffs. There was no rational explanation for the team not using one of the game’s greatest weapons when the stakes were the highest other than injury.

See photos from the Super Bowl: 

18 PHOTOS
Super Bowl LIII: Patriots vs. Rams
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Super Bowl LIII: Patriots vs. Rams
Tom Brady (12) de los Patriots de Nueva Inglaterra festeja tras un touchdown ante los Rams de Los Ángeles durante la segunda mitad del Super Bowl, el domingo 3 de febrero de 2019, en Atlanta. (AP Foto/Jeff Roberson)
New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski (87) catches a pass in front of Los Angeles Rams' Marcus Peters (22) and Cory Littleton (58) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
New England Patriots' Stephon Gilmore, right, intercepts a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams' Brandin Cooks (12) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
New England Patriots' Kyle Van Noy (53) sacks Los Angeles Rams' Jared Goff (16) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
New England Patriots' Jason McCourty (30) breaks up pass intended Los Angeles Rams' Josh Reynolds (83), during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Los Angeles Rams' Aaron Donald (99) hits New England Patriots' Tom Brady (12) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
New England Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski (3) gestures after scoring a field goal, during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. The Patriots defeated the Rams 13-3.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Los Angeles Rams' Robert Woods (17) breaks a tackle by New England Patriots' Jonathan Jones (31) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
New England Patriots' Tom Brady (12) throws the ball as Los Angeles Rams' Ndamukong Suh (93) rushes during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Los Angeles Rams' Jared Goff (16) throws a pass during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Los Angeles Rams' Greg Zuerlein (4) watches his field goal during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
New England Patriots' Jason McCourty (30) breaks up a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams' Brandin Cooks (12) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots runs the ball against John Johnson #43 of the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Sony Michel #26 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is interviewed after his teams 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots and teammate Tom Brady #12 celebrate at the end of the Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: James Develin #46 of the New England Patriots celebrates with his son William Robert Develin after the Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Why would Rams hide a Gurley injury?

It all begs the question, why? Why wouldn’t the Rams open up about Gurley’s status? Why would they take the risk of significant penalty for inaccurate information on an injury report instead of simply listing Gurley as questionable or probable?

Was McVay so wary of giving Bill Belichick a competitive advantage that he would rather hide Gurley’s injury?

24 PHOTOS
Todd Gurley through his career
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Todd Gurley through his career
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 24: Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams looks on before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 01: Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs carries the ball against the Buffalo Bulls at Sanford Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 22: Todd Gurley #3 and Jarvis Jones #29 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrate after the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium on September 22, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
College Football: Georgia Todd Gurley (3) in action, rushing vs Tennessee at Sanford Stadium. Athens, GA 9/29/2012 CREDIT: Al Tielemans (Photo by Al Tielemans /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X155553 TK1 R4 F177 )
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium on September 29, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 01: Running back Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs carries the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first half of the SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on December 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
CLEMSON, SC - AUGUST 31: Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after scoring a touchdown during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
College Football: Georgia Todd Gurley (3) during game vs South Carolina at Sanford Stadium. Athens, GA 9/7/2013 CREDIT: Bill Frakes (Photo by Bill Frakes /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X156906 TK1 R9 F114 )
ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 23: Tailback Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs high fives fans near the hedges after the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 13: Todd Gurley #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs looks on during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina won 38-35. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
September 27, 2014: Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) is hit by Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Malik Foreman (22) in the Georgia Bulldogs 35-32 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers at at Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
30 April 2015: Todd Gurley is selected by the St. Louis Rams for the 10th pick of the first round and poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during round 1 of the 2015 NFL Draft at Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14: Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams stands on the sidelines during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on August 14, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 25: Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates after making a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns in the third quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on October 25, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 04: Running back Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams runs past free safety Rashad Johnson #26 of the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 04: Running back Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams walks off the field following the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 24-22. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 1: Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams takes to the field during introductions before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome on November 1, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Football: Closeup of St Louis Rams Todd Gurley (30) and Stedman Bailey (12) praying before game vs Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. Minneapolis, MN 11/8/2015 CREDIT: Brad Rempel (Photo by Brad Rempel /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X160120 TK1 )
22 November 2015: St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) warms up at M&T Bank Stadium, in Baltimore, MD. (Photograph by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 13: Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams leaps against the Detroit Lions at the Edward Jones Dome on December 13, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - APRIL 18: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley goes head-to-head against New York Jets running back Matt Forte with Chris Puckett (C) in Call Of Duty: Black Ops3 to celebrate the launch of Eclipse DLC on April 18, 2016 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Activision)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Ram celebrates after the Rams defeated the Seahawks 9-3 in the home opening NFL game at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 09: Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams prepares to take the field to play in the game against the Buffalo Bills at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 11: (L-R) Kenny Britt #18, Brian Quick #83, Bradley Marquez #15 and Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams walk down the tunnel for warm ups prior to the start of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. The Falcons defeated the Rams 42-14. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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It seems unlikely barring something more significant than lingering struggles from a knee sprain surfacing that we’ll ever get a straight answer from the Rams about Gurley’s health.

And the Rams may rue Anderson’s candidness that contradicts the company line.

But between watching the Rams and hearing Anderson’s comments Wednesday, it’s not hard to do the math.

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