On Saturday evening, Los Angeles Rams rookie running back Cam Akers had a brilliant performance in his first-ever playoff game in the NFL. In the Rams’ 30-20 Wild Card Round win over the Seattle Seahawks, the former Florida State star rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown and caught 2 passes for 45 yards.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Akers’ 176 total yards of offense were second-most by an NFL back in their playoff debut in league history, behind only former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon in 1960 for the Houston Oilers.
With 30 total touches, Akers carried the injury-riddled Rams offense to an impressive underdog road victory. Starting quarterback John Wolford was knocked out of the game in the first half with a nasty neck injury, which forced the Rams to turn back to Jared Goff. Goff himself was nursing a thumb injury on his throwing hand.
As the Rams relied almost exclusively on Akers for a majority of the offensive production, the former Seminole flashed his all-around ability just as he did in Tallahassee. Akers caught a key 44-yard pass in which he made several defenders miss, setting up his rushing score.
As far as Florida State history is concerned, Akers joined an exclusive group of FSU running backs to top 100 rushing yards in an NFL Playoff game. Warrick Dunn had 147 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Atlanta Falcons in 2005, Edgar Bennett rushed for 108 yards and a score in 1995 for the Green Bay Packers, and San Diego Chargers back Marion Butts went for 119 yards and a touchdown in 1992.
Fullback Zach Crockett still holds the Noles’ record when he gained 147 yards on just 13 carries, along with 2 touchdowns, for the Indianapolis Colts in 1995. Crockett accomplished this feat despite receiving just 1 carry for 0 yards in the regular season as a rookie that year while blocking for All-Pro Marshall Faulk.
Minnesota Vikings running back Amp Lee didn’t have 100 yards rushing but caught 11 passes for 159 yards and a score out of the backfield in a New Year’s Day playoff game in 1995.
Fighting back from a rib injury early on in 2020 and a high ankle sprain in Week 16, Akers heated up in the final month of the regular season, receiving over 20 carries a game. He finished his rookie year with 625 yards and 2 touchdowns on 145 carries.
That’s the most rushing yards in a rookie season by a former Seminole since Leon Washington’s 650 yards for the New York Jets in 2006.
Los Angeles and Akers will be back for the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs next weekend, but their opponent is still in question.
If the New Orleans Saints defeat the Chicago Bears this afternoon, the Rams will play the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau. But if the Bears pull out a win over the Saints, the Rams will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also on the road in Tampa.