With Todd Gurley resting, Malcolm Brown looks to take advantage of extra playing time in Week 17 for the Los Angeles Rams.
Between the Los Angeles Rams moving on from Benny Cunningham in the offseason to all of the unnecessary drama surrounding Tre Mason, Malcolm Brown quickly took advantage of the situation by impressing Sean McVay enough to become the clear No. 2 running back behind Todd Gurley on offense. And while a majority of Cunningham’s carries came during garbage time this season when the Rams were crushing opponents, Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers is the perfect opportunity for the backup running back to show off what he’s truly capable of in the backfield.
Any running back playing behind Gurley is going to find it difficult to earn playing time on the football field in meaningful games since the MVP candidate has proven to be a workhorse this season by rarely receiving any breaks. But the good news is when called upon, Brown has proven on numerous occasions that he was the right man for the job as a backup to Gurley, and with McVay resting the starters in Week 17, this gives the former Texas standout an opportunity to receive a heavy workload before the playoffs get underway for the Rams.
With the NFC West title already locked up, it’s easy to understand why McVay is taking the safe approach with his starters, but also keep in mind that Los Angeles technically could still fall to the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoff picture, depending on what happens in some of the other games. So from Brown’s perspective, the Rams hope to see a little extra motivation from the backup running back to help them earn the win against the 49ers, and not have to worry about losing the No. 3 seed.
Coincidentally, Sean Mannion is in a similar situation to Brown since the backup quarterback will be starting his first career NFL game to reward Jared Goff with some extra rest that he clearly deserves when looking at all he’s done under center for Los Angeles during his sophomore season. At least based off what Mannion and Brown were able to accomplish in the preseason, the Rams should be just fine on offense while trying to put an end to the surprise four-game winning streak put together by the 49ers.