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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Rams linemen knew exactly what Cowboys’ defense was going to do

Sean McVay Rams

The Los Angeles Rams relied almost exclusively on their running game in their playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, and Todd Gurley wasn’t even their leading rusher. Even veteran backup CJ Anderson was able to run at will, and now we have a better understanding of why that was the case.

Some of LA’s offensive linemen told Danny Heifetz of The Ringer that they could tell what the Cowboys’ defense was going to do based on how they lined up before the snap. Rams center John Sullivan said his team “had a lot of tips and tells on what they were going to do” by looking at where certain players lined up or what stance they were in.

When you hear that a team was out-coached, that is exactly what that entails. Sean McVay has made a habit of being several steps ahead of opposing defenses since he took over for the Rams, and that is why he has enjoyed so much immediate success with them.

The Rams finished with 273 yards rushing in their 30-22 win over the Cowboys, and Anderson had 123 of them and two scores. Gurley added another 115, but some of the holes LA opened up were big enough that Gurley’s All-Pro skill wasn’t even needed. Anderson had a hilarious explanation for why he gained so many yards after contact during a game in the regular season, but the ground success on Saturday was all about scheming and preparation.

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