L.A.'s offense, led by journeyman Case Keenum, tallied 10 punts in 14 drives in Santa Clara and never capitalized on its one strength: Todd Gurley. Entering the season with a plethora of fantasy hype and Carl's Jr. commercials, the second-year back started his campaign slowly with a poor 17-carry, 47-yard performance.
That's not typical for Gurley, who rushed for over 100 yards in each of his season openers at Georgia and ran for 146 in his NFL debut in 2015. While the running back slowed down the stretch last season (63.1 yards per game in his final seven), it's unlikely that his game against the 49ers is indicative of a season of sub-par showings to come; it's just one game after all.
Regardless, Gurley isn't taking his slow start lightly and claims he has a plan to get back on track.
"Just stay with it, be patient," he said Thursday, per the Los Angeles Times. "I felt like some of the runs got busted up a little early. I feel like I was trying to do too much, or wasn't patient enough in my reads.
"I've just got to stick to the game plan, and just know that everything is going to be fine, and we're going to break one."
Kudos to Gurley for being a team player, but sticking to the game plan may have been the problem for him and the Rams; he had to do too much because no one else was helping. Saddled with a B-list of skill players on the outside, Jeff Fisher's offense won't fool anyone this season with its reliance on the run. But as the Niners demonstrated on Monday, if you can frustrate and stop Gurley, then it's easy to force Keenum and company into long third downs and unwanted passing situations.
In come the Seahawks, who held Arian Foster and the Dolphins to 64 rushing yards last week and boast a bevy of run-stopping defenders on the line and in the secondary. However, with a roster similar to this season's, Gurley ran for 83 yards and a touchdown in his only meeting with the Seahawks last season in a 23-17 Rams win.
So what's the plan this time, Fish?
"We just need to be in a position where we can keep feeding (Gurley)," Fisher said Thursday. "The two are tied together -- Case makes a good decision, converts a third down, then we get another opportunity to hand the ball off to Todd.
"It's all tied together."
Sunday proves to be a slugfest of sorts, with both defenses outmatching the offenses. As Fisher indicated, the success of Gurley and the Rams' offense against Seattle will be predicated on Keenum moving the ball -- pass to set up the run, not vice versa -- something he couldn't do against a bottom-five team in the opener.
If all goes well and Gurley breaks out, the Rams will be one win closer to 7-9. If not, the frustration for the league's -- and city's -- rising star may boil over.