This season looked to be lost for running back C.J. Anderson. He had just over 100 yards with the Panthers when they waived him in mid-November. Anderson also spent a week with the Raiders, but was cut again before stepping on the field. However, all of these struggles during the 2018 season may have been the best thing that ever happened to the 27-year old running back.
Anderson’s Stint in Denver
C.J. will be participating in Super Bowl LIII, but he already has a ring. He was a member of the Super Bowl 50 Champion Denver Broncos and had a pretty solid early career in Colorado. Anderson was a pro-bowler in 2014 and had a career year in his contract season last year. He broke the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career and started every single game. However, that doesn’t always mean a big contract. The Broncos elected to let Anderson walk in favor of younger options. There weren’t many takers for him in free agency.
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The Troubling 2018 Season
In May, Anderson was still looking for a job. The Panthers finally bit on Anderson to find a goal line back to pair with Christian McCaffrey. He signed a deal for less than $2 million and as we know, sat on the bench for most of his time there. Anderson had just rush for 1,000 yards one season ago, but was forgotten and let go as the Panthers’ season began to collapse. Anderson looked like he may not play another snap in 2018. The Panthers had released him and the Raiders picked him up just to cut him a week later. However, he was finally given his chance when a star running back was injured and he took advantage of it.
The Rams signed Anderson on December 19th. Just four days later, he made his debut, filling in for the injured Todd Gurley in Week 16. He announced his arrival with authority against the Cardinals, rushing for 167 yards and a touchdown on just 20 carries. His encore performance was a 132-yard game against the 49ers and he had earned his spot on the roster for the playoffs.
Many expected Anderson to fade away when Gurley returned to the field in the divisional round. However, he had earned his spot in the lineup and Head Coach Sean McVay gave him his shot. Anderson ran for over 100 yards for the third straight game and scored twice. He had returned to form. Can it continue in the Super Bowl? He will most likely get his chances. C.J. was forgotten by the league after the best season of his career. Now, he can prove them all wrong with another big game on the biggest stage.