THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — While the Los Angeles Rams have been utterly transformed from the NFL’s worst offense last year to one of its best this season, there’s one area where the Rams are still lacking.
Teams and stars around the league are breaking out entertainingtouchdowncelebrations this season after the league relaxed its persnickety rules, but the Rams (8-3) haven’t put together any particularly memorable antics.
When running back Todd Gurley was asked why the Rams mostly aren’t participating in the wave of skits and choreographed dances, the NFL’s leader in points scored by a non-kicker had an answer that was a celebration in itself.
“We get in there so much, we don’t have to do it every time,” Gurley said Thursday. “So it’s cool.”
The Rams’ offensive revolution is still stunning to anybody who watched the miserable offenses on the franchise’s previous two teams under Jeff Fisher. After finishing last in the league in yards last season by a wide margin, the Rams are fourth in yards (379.0 per game) and second in points (329) while holding the NFL’s second-best scoring differential at 123 points.
Los Angeles faces the Arizona Cardinals (5-6) on Sunday in a rematch of a 33-0 victory for the Rams this season. Gurley put up 154 yards and rushed for a score in that game on a rugby field in London.
Gurley has scored 11 touchdowns this season, tops in the league. He said he isn’t strictly opposed to eventually breaking out a celebration, but he is in no hurry.
“It would be cool, but I don’t have all day to be trying to do a whole cha cha slide and the electric slide rehearsal, and then you plan one thing and then you get in the game and it doesn’t go well,” Gurley said. “But we’ll have to work on that sooner or later. … I’m too big to be dancing. That’s not my game. I’ll leave that to (Giants receiver) Odell (Beckham Jr.), (Vikings receiver) Stefon Diggs and the boys. They do a pretty good job of that.”
Perhaps Gurley might want to try something similar to the celebration performed by Rams rookies Josh Reynolds and Gerald Everett last weekend after Reynolds’ first career TD in a 26-20 win over New Orleans.
After Reynolds dived to catch Jared Goff’s throw, he ran over to Everett with the ball before turning and holding it aloft like Rafiki with the cub Simba in the iconic image from the animated film “The Lion King.”
“Hopefully it catches on or something,” Reynolds said with a grin. “I just wanted to do something where it gets talked about, and it seems like it’s getting talked about a little bit.”
Reynolds scored 30 touchdowns at Texas A&M, catching a scoring pass in each of his final eight games. If he gets another opportunity to celebrate soon with the Rams, Reynolds already has thought of his next performance.
“Oh, I’ve got some good ones,” Reynolds said. “I’ve got some bullets.”
Gurley has scored just one touchdown in the Rams’ last three games after lighting up the box scores early this season. Los Angeles coach Sean McVay limited Gurley’s carries in the past four weeks to keep him healthy for key plays and blocking assignments — an unfortunate necessity with both of Gurley’s backups sidelined by injuries.
“I’m a running back, I’m always going to want more, but Coach knows what he’s doing,” Gurley said. “He’s doing the best for the team. … We’re winning. As long as we’re winning, I’m cool. Everybody’s roles are going to have to decrease. I can’t get the ball every time. Someone is always going to have to be that guy to step up, and that’s the thing about this team. It’s not all, ‘If Todd doesn’t get the ball 20 times, we’re going to lose.’ That’s a good thing.”
NOTES: Reynolds returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday. The rookie rolled his ankle during last Sunday’s game, but feels fine now. … CB Nickell Robey-Coleman and RB Lance Dunbar both participated fully in practice, and the Rams are hopeful both will play against Arizona after missing last week’s game. … Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is confident in rookie LB Samson Ebukam, who will make his first start Sunday in place of injured Connor Barwin. “I think he’s ready to go,” Phillips said of Ebukam, who had a key sack of Drew Brees last week. “He told me he’s nervous. I said, ‘Are you nervous?’ He said, ‘Heck yeah.’ I said, ‘Well, you better be.’ He’s got a lot of energy, and I like that about him.”