DENVER | No cold feet for the Los Angeles Rams in the frigid conditions.
Just cool running.
Todd Gurley heated up the offense with a career afternoon to power the Rams through the bitter cold for a 23-20 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
It was nothing but smooth sledding for the team from the land of sunshine.
The 25 degrees at kickoff marked the second-coldest at home for the Broncos during a contest held in September or October. The coldest for this time of year was 22 degrees on Oct. 12, 1969, against Oakland.
“It’s kind of cold,” said Gurley, who rushed for a career-best 208 yards and two TDs. “It don’t really matter. At the end of the day, just got to go out there.”
No surprise, the Rams relied on a steady dose of Gurley as they improved to 6-0 in sending the Broncos (2-4) to their fourth straight loss. Gurley carried the ball 28 times and averaged 7.4 yards per carry.
On a day when players could see their breath, Gurley and many others didn’t bundle up. No long sleeves for him. He did wear a ski mask under his helmet.
His job complete, Gurley layered up to greet the conditions by putting on a hooded sweat shirt, heavy jacket and a stocking cap.
“Weather is weather,” receiver Brandin Cooks said. “We knew we had to come and do our job the best that we can.”
One slight brain freeze: Coach Sean McVay regretted some of his decisions.
“I thought I put us in some horrible spots throughout the game, really getting impatient, forcing things that weren’t there,” McVay lamented. “The players bailed me out, finding a way to win.”
The Rams don’t normally take the field in these kinds of conditions. To prepare, quarterback Jared Goff tried out gloves on both hands in pregame and went with them during the contest.
“It’s kind of a give-and-take and I felt more comfortable with them,” explained Goff, who was 14 of 28 for 201 yards and one interception. “We are from Los Angeles, where it is hot and it’s cold here. Having to go through that, feeling the cold, getting through that with a win is great. Once we got out there and were moving around, it wasn’t much of a factor.”
Just another day at the office.
“A new experience,” Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers said. “I think we kind of showed the world, that just because you’re from L.A., you can play in any kind of weather as long as you mentally prepare for it.”
Offensive lineman Rob Havenstein played at Wisconsin, where cold-weather games happen with frequency. But that was a few seasons ago. He’s grown accustomed to the California sun since being selected by the Rams in the second round of the 2015 draft.
“I’m not as hardened as I once was in Wisconsin,” cracked Havenstein, whose work up front with his fellow linemen allowed the Rams to finish with 270 yards on the ground. “This wasn’t too cold. The wind wasn’t breezy or anything like that. It wasn’t snow flying down. It was cool getting in a little snow game.”
About that, tailback Malcolm Brown doesn’t consider this a snow game even if there were a few flurries. Being from Texas, he wants his first snow game to be filled with plenty of accumulation.
“It was fun anyway,” said Brown, who finished with 24 yards on five carries. “I’ll play in any weather, as long as I’m playing ball.”
The cooler conditions didn’t bother defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Then again, he’s from Pittsburgh.
“Good football weather,” Donald said. “It just reminded me of home. That’s all it did.”
After the game, Gurley was asked how it felt to pick up chunks of yardage on virtually every carry.
“It’s cool,” Gurley said.
A fitting response.
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