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RB Malcolm Brown - Los Angeles Rams

5-11, 224Born: 5-15-1993College: TexasDrafted: ---

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Photo: Jim Brown, US Presswire

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Week 20: at New Orleans Saints

All RB vs NO

FBG says: Bad matchup. There's not much left to say about what this ground game was able to accomplish in the Divisional Round. Today's games are typically won through the air, but the Rams identified crucial weaknesses on the Dallas interior and pounded it relentlessly. Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson combined for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns over 39 carries, controlling the game's flow from start to finish. The Rams also succeeded on a few jet sweeps to their athletic, versatile wideouts, and quarterback Jared Goff iced the game with the biggest run of his life on the final possession. The runners were fantastic, but it was the play of this elite front line that made the day possible. The 5 starters have been on the field for all 17 games this season, and their cohesion was apparent as they routinely locked up Dallas tacklers and brushed them aside. Simply put, their trap and second-level blocking were sights to behold. Center John Sullivan was particularly dominant on the inside, regrouping nicely from a shaky close to his regular season. It's hard to pin down the distribution between the two key runners: Gurley looks recovered from his in-season knee injury, but is still working back into optimal game shape. Coach Sean McVay has hinted as much over the past few weeks, and Gurley may again be held below 20 attempts regardless of the game's score. Anderson will continue to spell him liberally, and he's looked determined and powerful in his Rams rebirth. He's racked up 167, 132, and 123 yards in his 3 games with the team, routinely churning through holes and driving ahead for yardage. This Sunday, the Rams will almost certainly look to keep the ball on the ground for as long as game script allows. The Saints lost their most important run defender, nose tackle Sheldon Rankins, to a torn Achilles in the Divisional Round, leaving a massive hole in the front seven. Another dominant performance in the trenches should free up Gurley and Anderson to test the Saints' linebacking group. Considering how they ran wild against the Cowboys' strong second level, this group is certainly trending way upward for Sunday. The Saints defense has dominated in the run game throughout 2018, and that extended nicely into last week's win. The Eagles' jumbled rushing attack managed just 49 yards on the ground, with their longest gain by a running back going for just 8. On the season, the Saints have allowed just 3.6 yards per rushing attempt, second-best in all of football. Only a single opposing runner (Ezekiel Elliott in Week 13) has topped 70 yards in this matchup, and even he averaged just 3.3 in the process. The 14-3 Saints have typically led their games from start to finish, forcing opponents to abandon the run early and limiting the impacts of even the game's best runners. This isn't a perfect unit, though, and those numbers have often been buoyed by game flow. Several talented runners - including Todd Gurley, who racked up 5.2 yards per rush in Week 9 - have been able to produce efficiently. And it remains to be seen how the Saints will cover for the loss of breakout tackle Sheldon Rankins, who tore his Achilles last weekend. The drop-off may not be too severe: Rankins has been more impactful against the pass than the run, and the team is fairly deep along the line. They'll lean heavily on nose men Taylor Stallworth and Tyeler Davison, both of whom have ranged from strong to serviceable as interior run-stuffers. But their work is cut out for them against the Rams' dominant front, and they'll be needed to help keep the linebackers clean in pursuit.

Weekly Performance vs RB 1, RB 12, RB 24, RB 36

Percentile ranks

Malcolm Brown's percentile rank in each category, among RB with more than 50 fantasy points.

Recent Game Summaries

2018 Week 7 vs SF (13 / 65 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)

Brown got a decent amount of rotational work in this game, as the Rams seemed to feel like they had no reason to run Gurley into the ground against an inferior opponent who kept turning the ball over. While he had no flashy plays, Brown was efficient as an inside runner while spelling Gurley.

2018 Week 2 vs ARI (12 / 46 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Brown took lead back duties from Gurley with 2:23 left in the 3rd quarter. On his first third down in the game, handled blitz pickup great, de-cleating a free blitzing ILB so Goff could make the conversion on a big catch-and-run to Kupp. He showed extreme reliability as a pass protecter throughout the game. Because of the Rams lead, he got quite a bit of work to close the game out - even with the Rams staying aggressive and throwing into the 4th quarter. He is a bit of a one-speed runner and is not particularly fast, but understands blocking concepts, has patience, and has enough physicality to run through arm tackles.


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