ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS4) – In less than a year, C.J. Anderson has seen his football career swing from obscurity to resilient recovery and success. He was released less than a year ago by the team he began playing professionally for (the Denver Broncos), bounced across the league playing for teams that barely used him (if at all), then blossomed when given the chance to carry the ball for a team that went to the Super Bowl — the Los Angeles Rams.
For all the personal vindication he might harbor, for all the emotions he might want express after travelling the pendulum’s arc, for the collection of I-told-you-so’s he might have been keeping for the right moment to let them fly…
Anderson lamented, instead, the impact of the Super Bowl loss would have on veteran teammates he had only played with for a month.
“This sucks,” Anderson said following Sunday’s 13-3 New England victory. “We had an opportunity today and we didn’t take advantage of that opportunity. It wasn’t about me. it was about winning for (Rams offensive tackle Andrew) Wentworth and (center John) Sullivan, winning for Coach Skip Peete, winning for some people who’ve been in this league for a very long time.”
Anderson then tipped his head in the direction of the winning locker room.
“I’ve had that other feeling,” he said, “so I know what that feels like.”
He wanted it for others, too. It just didn’t work out this time.
“You know, being cut three times, that don’t mean nuthin’.”
Anderson helped the Denver Broncos to a victory in Super Bowl 50, but was let go last spring. He was picked up by Carolina, which already had Denver native Christian McCaffrey hauling the rock and netted only 24 carries before being released. Oakland kept him on the bench for one game before showing him the door.
Then the Los Angeles Rams’ star running back, Todd Gurley, suffered a knee injury in mid-December. The team dialed up Anderson. He answered.
Anderson carried 23 times for 123 yards in the Rams’ dominating rushing performance against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional playoffs.
Afterward, he laughed off the stress of the season by calling himself ‘old and fat.’
He and Gurley alternated carries Sunday against the Patriots, but with little success. Gurley gained 35 yards on 10 carries, Anderson 22 yards on seven.
“One of us was trying to get in a rhythm,” Anderson said. “We didn’t care who.”
The Patriots shut down the Rams offense and came away with New England’s sixth league title.
“We beat ourselves,” Anderson said. “We did some things we wanted to do, but we beat ourselves. We knew we had to come in and play a complete game, a mistake-free game, and we didn’t do that today.
“It’s highly disappointing.”
It wasn’t, he said, because the Patriots surprised them with a new scheme.
“They played gap football. That’s what they play well. They’ve been doing that for years. Nothing changed. We just didn’t execute.”