Los Angeles Rams: Can Todd Gurley Surpass LaDainian Tomlinson’s Rushing Touchdown Record?

The Los Angeles Rams offense is firing on all cylinders right now. There seems to be no weakness to the offense, especially with Sean McVay calling the shots.

The Rams are 6-0 so far, leaving them as the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL. They are three games ahead of second place in the NFC West.

Everything is seemingly perfect in Los Angeles, making fans anxious for their beloved Rams to reach the Super Bowl.

As of now, they currently have the number one offense in terms of yards per game (464.3 yards per game. They also are third in scoring offense (32.7 points per game), only behind the New Orleans Saints (36 points per game) and the Kansas City Chiefs (35.8 points per game).

Ironically the Rams will face both teams in the next few weeks.

A substantial reason for the Rams offensive success is Todd Gurley. Jared Goff has been nothing short of phenomenal this year, but the offense goes through Gurley.

Gurley is playing at an elevated level this year, making him the best RB in the NFL to many people. He currently leads the league in rushing yards (623), rushing touchdowns (9), scrimmage yards (870) and total touchdowns (11).

What makes Gurley so dynamic, is his ability to be a dual-threat back. Many teams in the NFL are looking for guys like him, drafting guys in the first round in hopes they turn out to have the same level of production.

Likewise, LaDainian Tomlinson was a very dynamic RB in the NFL at one point. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for a reason.

When I was a little kid, everyone wanted to be LaDainian Tomlinson (including me). We would wear arm bands and a visor, wanting to carry the ball like number 21.

Tomlinson made his legacy be felt with his historic 2006 season. That year, he had 1,815 yards on 348 carries (5.2 yards per carry). The historic part of that year, was the NFL record, 28 rushing touchdowns.

Here is all 31 total touchdowns Tomlinson scored in 2006, all packed into one video for your viewing pleasure.

https://youtu.be/is4j3KCpV-A

Most people have seen Tomlinson’s record as untouchable, especially with the NFL turning towards being a pass-happy league.

What ignited the discussion, was Gurley’s performance from this past Sunday. Gurley rushed for 208 yards on 28 carries and two rushing touchdowns. He is the first Rams RB to rush for 200 yards since Marshall Faulk in 2001.

The most rushing touchdowns we’ve seen in a season since 2006, was LeGarrette Blount with 18 in 2016. What made Blount’s impressive, was the fact he did it with the New England Patriots, who run their offense through Tom Brady and their aerial attack.

Even Blount’s 18 isn’t remotely close to the 28 Tomlinson collected in 2006 though.

This year, it seems we may have a legitimate contender to upend the record Tomlinson has held for over a decade.

Through six games this year, Gurley has nine scores on the ground. In 2006, Tomlinson had seven rushing touchdowns through his first six games.

Also in 2006, Tomlinson had 10 games where he scored at least two rushing touchdowns. This season, Gurley has three games with two or more rushing touchdowns already.

The question is: Can Gurley maintain this type of production in the scoring department?

The answer is an easy yes. What makes it more likely to happen is the ability of the Rams offense to get in scoring positions. This is because of the level of genius that McVay has displayed in his young coaching career.

Here’s a highlight video of Gurley’s three-score performance against the Seattle Seahawks this season.

So far, Gurley has 129 carries on the year. Of those 129, 37 have come inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. That’s a whopping 29% of his attempts coming in the red zone.

Gurley leads the NFL in red zone carries, with second place having just 21 attempts so far (Sony Michel).

Out of those 37 rushes, nine of them went for scores. As you can see, all of his rushing touchdowns have come inside the 20-yard line. Therefore, he is scoring on almost 25% of his attempts in the red zone.

That type of success rate can easily propel Gurley to the touchdown record.

The Rams as a team average five scoring attempts a game in the opponent’s red zone. As a result, that makes them good enough for second in the NFL.

There are plenty of scoring opportunities in this Rams offense, especially for Gurley in the running game. One of the only things that could prevent Gurley from reaching the milestone, would be the play-calling of McVay.

Some have been critical of McVay throwing the ball in obvious running situations. To that I say, the Rams are 6-0 and Gurley still leads the league in many categories for RBs.

For Gurley to attain the record, he will need 19 more scores on the ground this season. That means he will need an average of almost two rushing touchdowns a game.

That isn’t out of the realm of possibility for arguably the best offensive player in the NFL. If Gurley can surpass the record Tomlinson set, it’ll be a monumental feat in his young career.

I know for a fact that Rams fans would likely cause an earthquake if touchdown number 29 is scored by number 30.

 

 

 

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