Running back CJ Anderson’s 2018 was nothing short of wild. In April, he was released by the Denver Broncos, a team he made the Pro Bowl with and won the Super Bowl with. He was then signed by the Carolina Panthers, only to be cut midseason. In December, he spent a week with the Oakland Raiders, only to be cut without playing a game. After all that, it seemed unlikely that Anderson would make another team, let alone make an impact. However, it happened.
With only two weeks left in the season, the Los Angeles Rams signed Anderson to help the running game with Todd Gurley’s health in limbo. Football fans thought not much of it, but Anderson seized the opportunity. In his first game with the Rams, Anderson ran for 167 yards and one touchdown in a win over the Cardinals. His numbers looked similar in Week 17 against San Francisco going for 132 yards and another touchdown. However, his performance was taken at face value. The Rams were already a playoff lock, and considering he was the number one back against weak teams, his numbers, although impressive, were not blown out of proportion.
CJ Anderson going on for his second TD of the day pic.twitter.com/ZDT8rYrgPi
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) January 13, 2019
However, when the playoffs began, Anderson continued to be a valuable threat. In the divisional round against Dallas, Anderson split carries with Gurley but still rushed for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. Even in the NFC Championship game, Rams Head Coach Sean McVay relied on Anderson substantially more than Gurley. Whether it was because of Gurley’s early struggles, nagging injuries, or McVay simply just trusted the veteran Anderson, it became clear that the Rams relied heavily on Anderson to win the big games.
It’s quite an amazing road for Anderson. The 5 foot 8, 225-pound running back was reportedly not even worked out or weighed before being signed by the Rams.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 30, 2019
Anderson’s weight is part of what helps him stick out on the field, to fans enjoyment or criticism. Regardless, CJ could care less what people think of him.
Following from Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk:
“Fat, thick, I don’t care. They have a tough time tackling me. Everybody who has a comment, just meet me in the hole. We’ll see how that works out for you.”
Whether or not McVay sticks with Anderson, or goes back to Gurley for the Super Bowl is still up in the air. Win or lose though, Anderson’s presence has been a difference maker for the Rams’ Super Bowl run, and has no doubt played his way into a job somewhere in 2019.