By Nick Shook
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I didn’t get you that expensive watch you wanted, but only because I think Le’Veon Bell has you covered. What I do have for you, however, is a nice little trio of excellence.
For the first time this season, we have a back-to-back winner. That winner is also building himself quite the case for MVP.
Here are your greatest on the road from Week 16:
Greatest on the Road
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
He’s back! And he’s better than…last week?
We saw an excellent game from Gurley against the Seattle Seahawks, a blowout win in which the running back ground the opposition into submission. He again led the Rams in rushing a week later with 118 yards, but kicked it up a notch against Tennessee.
Gurley caught 10 passes to lead all Rams receivers, gaining 158 yards and scoring twice in the process. His best play of the day was a screen pass that went 80 yards and served as a signature play for Gurley’s season. The third-year runner caught the pass and weaved through Tennessee’s defense before sprinting past everyone to the promised land. No one had a chance once he got to the second level of the defense.
Gurley totaled 276 all-purpose yards on 32 touches as the Rams pulled out a hard-fought road win, 27-23. We sound like a broken record, because he’s doing this almost every week, no matter the opponent. The Rams would be vastly different without him, which is the definition of most valuable. Give the man the award.
Oh, and the Rams clinched the NFC West with the win. T-shirts and hats for everybody!
Also considered …
Antonio Gates, Los Angeles Chargers
Gates was expected to fade into retirement after he got his touchdown record early in the season, but that isn’t happening. The tight end scored a touchdown thanks to running himself open with an excellent route against Kansas City (in what was an eventual loss) in Week 15, and did it again in Week 16.
The veteran tight end from Kent State shed a press attempt by rookie safety Jamal Adams, outmuscled him to gain inside position and used his ever-sure hands to snag a dart from Philip Rivers for a score, Los Angeles’ first of the day. In a close victory, the Chargers stayed alive with much thanks due to Gates’ score, and his five other grabs for a team-best 81 yards.
Justin Coleman, Seattle Seahawks
Yes, Dak Prescott threw a poor pass on this play, but talk about being in the right place at the right time.
Coleman spent the first two seasons of his career in New England as a reserve on Matt Patricia’s defense. Perhaps he picked up a thing or two along the way, or maybe he just relied on his ball-related instincts to intercept a pass from Prescott that sailed over the head of Ezekiel Elliott. Either way, that play landed Seattle in the end zone in what turned out to be the difference in a nine-point win.
We’ll give him this space because of the return for a touchdown, and also for the kettle pot jump — a quality troll of Elliott’s 2016 celebration — in a game that was massively important for the Seahawks‘ postseason hopes.