As Rams' offense evolves, don't forget Todd Gurley

McFarland says Rams are among top 3 most talented NFL teams (1:19)

Booger McFarland explains how the Rams' second-half play powered their win over the Raiders and why he believes they will be a team to look out for. (1:19)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Todd Gurley II was in motion on a fly sweep, took a shovel pass, then left the Oakland Raiders’ defense behind as he ran 19 yards for a Los Angeles Rams touchdown.

The play was among many that quarterback Jared Goff and Gurley couldn’t wait to reveal when the Rams opened the season with a 33-13 victory over the Raiders.

“That was a good one,” Goff said after the game. “That was one we’ve been practicing and came down the pipe into the headset, and I go, ‘This might score,’ and it sure enough did.”

Said Gurley: “I knew they wasn’t going to be ready for that. I told coach I was going to be the first one to score on that.”

Rams coach Sean McVay spent the offseason adding new wrinkles to an offense that led the league in scoring last season and returned 10 of 11 starters.

Many of the new play designs involve Gurley, who proved himself as a multidimensional threat last season.

But aside from Gurley’s touchdown, the Rams’ offense sputtered in the first half Monday as Derek Carr and the Raiders stayed on the field, limiting the Rams to 20 plays.

“We’ve got to execute better,” McVay said.

It also wouldn’t hurt to involve Gurley, the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year, a bit more, especially early in the game. Gurley was held to only five touches in the first half, his fewest before halftime since 2015, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

But after the break, Gurley proved why he is the highest-paid running back in NFL history (He signed a four-year, $60 million extension with $45 million guaranteed before the season) and why the Rams must, like last season, run the offense through him if they want to repeat as division champions and make a Super Bowl run.

Gurley rushed for 17 yards in consecutive carries to open the second half, later rushed for 17 yards in three straight carries and then rushed for 20 yards in consecutive carries at the start of the fourth quarter.

“I think it was a conscious effort to get Todd more involved,” McVay said. “But then I also think it was a result of us having more opportunities just in terms of the plays overall.”

Gurley and the offensive starters did not play in the preseason. Gurley, who last week relished his final few days without getting hit, acknowledged it took some time to settle in and acclimate.

“I feel it right now I just got out of the cold tub,” Gurley said. “But I’ll be fine. It felt good being back out there.”

After rushing for 19 yards in four carries in the first half, Gurley finished with 108 yards in 20 carries, averaging 5.4 yards per carry, and caught one pass for 19 yards and a touchdown.

“Any time we get Todd the ball in space,” Goff said, “Good things tend to happen.”