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C.J. Anderson, Todd Gurley lead Rams to NFC title game

C.J. Anderson's two-week romp in place of Todd Gurley was taken with a grain of salt by some (including this writer).

Two-hundred and ninety-nine yards in two weeks? Against San Francisco and Arizona? Eh, that's nice, but not a big deal. Do it in a playoff game and then we'll talk.

Well, it's time to talk.

Anderson carried the load for a Rams rushing attack that ran 48 times for 273 yards Saturday in a 30-22 Divisional Round win over the Dallas Cowboys. The bulky back who didn't have a job a little over a month ago ran 23 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns and served as a wrecking ball -- or perhaps bowling ball -- in key short-yardage situations for a Rams team that was twice forced to settle for early field goals.

Once they turned to Anderson, they opened the door to the NFC Championship Game.

Anderson led the way, but wasn't alone in Los Angeles' ground assault. Todd Gurley returned to play for the first time since Week 15, ripping up the Coliseum turf for 115 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. The best part of his return: He didn't look hobbled for the first time in a while.

"It was good just to get Todd back," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "You could see when he put his foot in the ground for that 35-yard touchdown run that looked like the guy we're accustomed to seeing. ... He was able to get a bunch of work, did a great job, was instrumental in the win tonight but those guys both did a great job."

Gurley and Anderson became the first rushers to each break 100 yards in the same playoff game since Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore did so in the 2013 Divisional Round against Green Bay. Even more impressive: Gurley and Anderson were the first running backs to do so in the same playoff game since Denver's Terrell Davis and Derek Loville did it in a Wild Card game from the 1997 season.

Though the theme entering Saturday's game -- a wet field might make this a run-first game -- skewed in the favor of Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys, Los Angeles bottled him up, limiting Elliott to 47 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries. Meanwhile, the Rams ran wild behind their offensive line, which enjoyed tremendous play from tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Rodger Saffold.

It was the 37-year-old Whitworth's first career postseason win. For it, he received a game ball, as did Gurley and Anderson.

"The big boys played really great up front," Anderson told NFL Network's Steve Wyche. "Me and Todd just tried to pick the right spots. I said all week when Todd wants to take a rest be in and don't miss a beat."

Anderson didn't miss a beat, and as a result, the Rams are headed to a place they haven't seen in nearly 20 years.

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