Todd Gurley, L.A Rams

There are many truly gifted athletes in many sports but, in my estimation, what separates the true champions from the wanna-be’s is the mental aspect of the sport they are playing. Michael Jordan had that edge and, as much as I dislike him, LeBron James has that edge. I could go on.

Scenario: The Rams just kicked a field goal with a little over two minutes left in the game for a 2-point lead. Unfortunately, that required that they kick the ball to the Packers and Aaron Rodgers, and we all know how Rodgers always gets the job done in crunch time.

The ball soars into the end zone. Of course, the returner took a knee, got the ball spotted at the 25, and brought out Rodgers for what would certainly be the game winning drive, right? Wrong! The returner, who obviously does NOT have that mental edge, inexplicably brought the ball out of the end zone, got hammered at the 18, and fumbled the ball back to the Rams.

Enter Todd Gurley. The Rams run him twice and the Packers use their last two time outs. There is still well over a minute left in the game when Gurley runs it a third time and , suddenly is in the open field heading for the end zone and glory! But wait, instead of scoring, Gurley slows down, looks around, and goes down! By doing so, they do NOT have to kick off to the Packers and Rodgers again. Instead, with the Packers having no time out lefts, they simply take a knee and end the game.

Those two players, one having no mental grasp of the game situation and the other having a deep understand of the game situation made the difference in that game and, very possibly, in the entire season for either or both teams.

Todd Gurley, my new hero!

That’s a fair analysis, but given that there is about a 1-in-50 chance of missing the extra point on the high end, it wouldn’t have hurt the Rams if he had scored so while it was a smart play it wasn’t a particularly relevant one.

That’s the difference between an RB who just signed a huge deal with $45M in guaranteed money, versus one who is in the last year of his contract.

Going down, rather than scoring, was definitely the right thing to do, but apparently it was planned in the huddle. So, it was more good coaching than spontaneous insight.

I don’t know if the Green Bay coaches reminded their kick returners to down the ball in the end zone. They probably should have,

He also protected his team from possible injury. I obviously don’t watch every single football game played in America, but I watch a ton of them, and I’ve NEVER seen a player injured while running a kneel down from a victory formation. Had he scored, they would have had to kick off, and special teams is probably the highest injury risk there is. Also, his defense would have had to come back on the field and play, and there would also be an injury risk there.

And, of course, there’s always the potential for the Packers to score a touchdown, recover an on-side kickoff, and then win with a long-range field goal. All of that off the table simply by not trying to score.

It’s pretty obvious that the Packers coaching staff did NOT pay attention to what was going on at the 2:04 mark of the game. :mad:

Previous instance of this:

Montgomery was told to kneel. He actually lost snaps for trying to run it out earlier in the game when told not to, which led to him do it again.
My biggest question at this point - if the guy is already ignoring his coaches, why the hell is he catching the most important return in the game? I’ve changed my mind on whether to fault McCarthy and company, but not for the reason DSYoungEsq does - if the player is insubordinate, bench his ass.

Even if the risk was small, it was still a risk, compared to no risk by taking the knee. And he needed to forgo the glory of scoring, which I imagine is a pretty strong drive for any professional athlete. He made an unambiguously correct decision, even though it was personally difficult. Anyone who does that, in any situation, is laudable.