Perhaps when Jon Gruden insisted that he got “a lot of phone calls from people who are dying to come and play here,” he was telling the truth, and those players didn’t mention how long they planned on staying. Even the briefest stints in Oakland appear to be performance-enhancing.
Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper were season-changing acquisitions for the Bears and Cowboys, respectively, but anyone could have predicted that. No, the best proof of the special sauce in Oakland is new Rams star C.J. Anderson, a human bowling ball who just keeps rolling. The Panthers cut Anderson on Nov. 12; the Raiders signed him on Dec. 4, and he was cut a week later without playing a single down.
Anderson played seven games this fall with the Panthers; he had just 24 carries for 104 yards, and zero touchdowns. Since joining the Rams as injury and rest insurance for Todd Gurley, Anderson has rushed 167 yards and a touchdown, 132 yards yards and a TD, and 123 and two TDs to help the Rams advance tonight.
Anderson racked up most of his yardage in the first half before gashing the Cowboys on several key runs on a withering, 12-play drive that devoured more than seven minutes in the fourth quarter. Anderson eventually scored on fourth and goal to put the Rams up 30-15. With an assist from Jason Garrett’s clock management, the game ended at 30-22.
Anderson’s game was positively Bettisian at times:
Anderson is a delightful corrective against the NFL’s trend toward leaner running backs. He’s listed at 5-8, 225 pounds, but that might be truer in the presidential sense than the literal one. He admitted a few years ago that he was up to 243 pounds. The best image from tonight might be him taking a breather on the Cowboys bench between plays:
But just to be safe, here’s a full photo gallery of Anderson on the Rams.
All photos via Getty Images.