When actions defy logic, these results invite the general public to generate theories explaining why this event occurred during its course. The Los Angeles Rams' use of Todd Gurley in their post-season series is an example.
The NFL's highest-paid offensive midfielder, who has 21 touchdowns and 1,831 yards of scrimmage, has become an afterthought in the NFC and Super Bowl leagues, scoring just 14 runs in two games – and only 31 in playoffs.
Gurley had a knee injury at the end of the season, which meant he missed the last two games of the season. During this period, the Rams hired replacement C.J. Anderson, who had 299 rushing yards in the last two inclines of the regular season.
Speaking Tuesday on FS1, the running back was asked how bad Gurley was when Anderson joined Rams.
"He was more hurt than we thought," Anderson said, via USA Today. "The injury was a little more than everyone in the building thought, including himself."
The period Anderson is questioned on is the key – when he was hired, not after the end of the season. The Rams removed Gurley from the injury report during Super Bowl Week and insisted throughout the process and after the loss to the New England Patriots to claim the semi-offensive was good. That may be true, and the chief of staff thinks it is a fact. Their actions – giving Gurley only 14 runs in two games – encourage other theories, as if Gurley was not really healthy. The other option is to suggest to the crew Sean McVay to have defeated the dog by not giving more chances to his best weapon despite the limited offensive opportunities.
Gurley's performance in the divisional round (115 yards, 16 TD passes) after three weeks of rest, followed by his lack of production, the following two games spur to speculate that Gurley's knee might have need more rest.
Anderson, who has had to deal with his knee problem in the past, said players had to constantly face knee pain throughout their career after an injury. Gurley tore his ACL in 2014.
"Obviously, it's the same knee injury that he suffered in his career," Anderson said. "Of course, I had a meniscus surgery and once you had a knee, you still have one knee, so it's aggravating and he had a lot of contacts earlier in the year – obviously he was one of the best backs, probably the case. "
Anderson's point about Gurley's workload is important and will be an undercurrent throughout the off season for the Rams. If the knee problem is going to require ongoing maintenance, can L.A. continue to use the dynamic player as a backfield to a man or should he handle his touching throughout the season?
The answer to this question could be indicated by what the Rams are doing at the semifinal position this spring. With Anderson ready to re-enter the free agent market, will they try to hold him back to keep the duo together? Can we use a draft choice on the back? Would the team just want to put more trust in injured John Kelly and Malcolm Brown?
All of the above will bring the conversation back to speculation on Gurley's knee. When a team says that one of the best players in the league is 100% healthy, then goes on to give him 10 hits in the biggest game of the season, that makes no sense and leads to speculation about other possible reasoning, no matter the guess-game fruit might endure.