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Todd Gurley: Rams have to do 'little things' better to return to Super Bowl

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley had 1,064 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns this past season after leading the league in total scores in 2017 and 2018. File Photo by Nell Redmond/UPI
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley had 1,064 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns this past season after leading the league in total scores in 2017 and 2018. File Photo by Nell Redmond/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Almost exactly one year ago, the Los Angeles Rams were in the same position as the San Francisco 49ers are in now: Super Bowl losers after a spectacular run through the NFC.

Running back Todd Gurley says "little things" kept the Rams out of the playoffs this season.

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Gurley is referring to intricacies of the game, including blocking, defensive assignments, footwork, clean route-running, penalties and overall consistency.

The 2018 Rams were an offensive juggernaut, leading the NFC in total offense and ranking in the top five for rushing and passing -- before being stonewalled by the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

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The Rams slipped in 2019, ranking 11th in points and 26th in rushing. Gurley made the Pro Bowl three times in his first four seasons, but failed to reach 1,000 rushing yards on a career-low 223 carries in 2019. Injuries piled up, the offensive line struggled and the Rams had 118 penalties, the most in coach Sean McVay's three seasons with the franchise.

"Hopefully, the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks don't do as well as they did last year [in the coming season]," said Gurley, who was at Gatorade's Bolt24 Studio before Super Bowl LIV in Miami. "We have to focus on the little things. We still ended up with a winning season, but we just have to do a little better."

Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw 10 fewer touchdown passes in 2019 than in 2018, while tossing a career-high 16 interceptions. Goff threw a league-high 626 times, while the Rams had just 401 carries, showing the team's lack of offensive balance. The Rams averaged just 86.5 more passing attempts than rush attempts in 2017 and 2018.

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"It's not something we can't do or don't know how to do," Goff said at his end-of-season news conference. "The answers are there. We just need to execute consistently."

The Rams' defense was inconsistent in 2019, allowing 30 points or more in five games and at least 44 points in three games. A loaded NFC West also made it difficult to return to the postseason, with the 49ers advancing to the Super Bowl and the Seahawks also punching their playoff ticket.

The Rams (9-7) were the only team with a winning record to miss the playoffs.

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"This is obviously a little bit different of a scenario than we have been used to over the last couple of years," McVay told reporters. "I'm never going to make excuses. I'm certainly excited about learning from all the things this season entailed."

Gurley said he's excited to play in the new SoFi Stadium, which should be ready for the start of the 2020 regular season. The Rams said the facility was 85 percent complete at the end of January.

The NFC West franchise has played regular season games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since moving from to Los Angeles from St. Louis in 2016.

The Rams are 33-15 since McVay, 34, took over the team in 2017. He said he needs to figure out what the Rams need to do next season to perform more consistently.

"It's great being able to play for a coach like him," Gurley said. "He is a great coach and offensive-minded."

Gurley said he attends the Super Bowl every year, but the Rams will need to do more of those little things right if he wants to be playing in the next one. Super Bowl LV will be held Feb. 7, 2021, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla.

NFL season highlights

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan raises the George Halas Trophy with broadcaster Terry Bradshaw after winning the NFC Championship at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on January 19, 2020. The 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers 37-20. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

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