C.J. Anderson and Jared Goff will be playing in the Super Bowl this upcoming weekend in a matchup that will surely bring excitement to Cal fans all over the world as they will be the first Golden Bear backfields to play in the auspicious game, which no one would have predicted at the beginning of the year.
For Goff, he entered the year on a loaded team that looked to build upon their successful season under first-year Head Coach Sean McVay.
The Rams were able to add game-breaking players such as Brandin Cooks to help create more explosive plays to a team that was already leading the NFL in points per game.
This led to Goff’s best year as a pro with 32 touchdowns, 4,688 yards and a passer rating of 101.1, which were all career highs.
Although some may attribute his success to McVay’s unique playcalling, it is clear that Goff has hit his stride and will be one of the league’s top quarterbacks for years to come.
Anderson, on the other hand, had a very turbulent year as he started the season on the Carolina Panthers where he was second string to Christian McCaffrey.
Because the offense was predicated on getting McCaffrey the ball in heavy doses, it was difficult for Anderson to get consistent touches.
After coming off a year where he was a thousand-yard rusher, Anderson could have very easily requested a trade but instead he continued to be a good teammate, patiently waiting for his opportunity.
Nine games into the season, he was released by the Panthers and immediately picked up by the Raiders after clearing waivers.
Anderson did not play a game for the silver and black as he was promptly released for the second time on the season.
With no one seeming to be interested in his services, he remained optimistic that the right team would come along, allowing him to prove his worth in the league. Three weeks later — after the Rams suffered their second straight loss to the Philadelphia Eagles as well as Todd Gurley re-injuring his knee — the Rams were in desperate need of not only a backup running up, but also a spark for their offense.
They would sign Anderson for the rest of the season as Gurley would take the next two games off to rest his knee and get healthy for their playoff push.
In the last two games of the regular season, Anderson had an average of 145 yards per game along with two touchdowns. His performance not only took pressure off of Goff but also gave the team some much-needed momentum heading into the playoffs.
The narrative remained the same for the Rams in both of their playoff games as Anderson led the team in carries with Gurley still not fully recovered. By having a consistent running attack, the offense was much more effective as it allowed Goff to find holes in opposing defenses through play action.
In their respective careers as Golden Bears, they did not win many games, which makes this game symbolic to Cal fans. With the fanbase starved of a league championship, a Super Bowl championship would mean the world to them behind an offense led by two Cal graduates.
Just two days away from the big matchup, many analysts are starting to make their predictions for the players that will have the biggest impact. One thing for certain is that in order for the Rams to beat the Patriots, they will need Goff and Anderson to continue playing at a high level.
A version of this article appeared on p. 9 of the Jan. 31, 2019 edition of the Daily Nexus.