The Green Bay Packers have first-hand experience facing the dominant abilities of Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley.
Just three years ago, Gurley — then a standout rookie — rushed 30 times for 159 yards at Lambeau Field against the Packers, breaking five different runs for over 10 yards, including a 55-yarder in the second half.
The Packers won that game comfortably, but they'll face a different challenge Sunday in Los Angeles and a more complete version of Gurley, who is now the NFL's most explosive and productive running back.
"He's a complete back," coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday. "He can run the football at an extremely high level, but what he does in pass protection and the receiving aspect of it too. He's a complete player."
Through seven weeks, Gurley leads the NFL in rushing yards (686), rushing touchdowns (11) and total touchdowns (14). He's currently on pace to eclipse 2,000 total yards and score 32 touchdowns in 2018.
Last season, Gurley produced 2,093 total yards and scored an NFL-high 19 touchdowns on his way to earning the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award.
There's nothing Gurley can't do. Although quarterback Jared Goff has developed into a playmaking machine in Sean McVay's vertical passing game, Gurley remains the heartbeat of the offense for the unbeaten Rams.
Not surprisingly, the Packers are keying in on containing Gurley Sunday.
"He's been dominant at times," McCarthy said. "He's taken games over. He's obviously a focal point for us."
Gurley has at least one touchdown in every game this season. He has three games with at least 100 rushing yards – including one over 200 – and three games with at least one receiving touchdown.
Essentially, the Packers must find ways to defend a dynamic runner and a matchup-busting receiver out of the backfield.
It's no easy task. Only twice has Gurley been kept under 100 total yards this season, and in each game, he still found the end zone three times.
The Packers know exactly how productive Gurley can be given the right opportunities. Slowing him down Sunday will be key for the Packers in producing the upset. Easier said than done.
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