But where was Todd Gurley?
The Rams’ star running back stood on the sideline with his helmet on throughout most of the game and hardly appeared in action as backup C.J. Anderson rushed for 44 yards on 16 carries.
“I was sorry as hell today,” Gurley said after the game. “I was sorry. So, C.J. did his thing and the whole team did its thing.”
Gurley rushed for 10 yards and a touchdown in four carries and caught one pass for 3 yards in the Rams’ 26-23 overtime victory.
His five touches from scrimmage were a career-low, as were his 13 total yards. And the 32 snaps Gurley played were his fewest in a game since his rookie season, as well as the fewest of any Rams offensive player that took the field Sunday.
“That was just kind of the feel for the flow of the game that we had,” Rams coach Sean McVay said when asked about Gurley’s situation. “Not anything against Todd. C.J. did a nice job, but I thought that they did a nice job as a whole, slowing down our run game, and we kind of just had to grind some things out.”
Gurley was sidelined for the final two games of the regular season because of inflammation in his left knee. He returned for a divisional-round game against the Dallas Cowboys and rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
When asked Sunday if he was healthy, Gurley said, “Yeah. I was sorry.”
Gurley made an uncharacteristic mistake in the Rams’ opening series, when he let a short pass bounce off his arms and it was intercepted by the Saints’ Demario Davis. The Saints converted the turnover into a field goal to take a 6-0 lead.
In the second series, Gurley was tackled for a 2-yard loss and on the ensuring series he dropped an open pass on third down that forced the Rams to settle for a field goal as they trailed 13-3.
With 1:29 to play in the first half, Gurley rushed 6 yards for a touchdown as the Rams trailed 13-10.
Before the season, the Rams awarded Gurley — the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year — with a four-year contract extension worth $60 million, with $45 million guaranteed.
A fourth-year pro, Gurley said he became emotional after the game at the realization that he would get a chance to redeem himself in the Super Bowl.
“Just to be able to get another opportunity, I’m so grateful, so grateful,” Gurley said.