On the morning of July 20th, 2021, just a week before the Los Angeles Rams were set to open training camp, news broke that promising running back Cam Akers had torn his Achilles - an injury that typically requires a steep and lengthy recovery.
Just three months after the injury, head coach Sean McVay refused to rule out that Akers would be unable to return for the 2021 season following encouraging workout videos shared by the young runner.
This led to Akers being designated to return from the injured reserve list on December 23rd. It was later reported that the Rams activated the second-year player a few weeks early in order for him to be on the active roster for 3 weeks, the minimum threshold for earning a pension credit in a season.
That brings us to Week 18, the final week of the 2021 regular season. Akers has been on the active roster but a gameday inactive for the team’s two most recent contests, and McVay has now declared that the running back will dress on Sunday versus the San Francisco 49ers:
Sean McVay says that RB Cam Akers will make his debut as an active player this Sunday, but team still very much measuring out what that actually looks like. Adds that everybody was in a jog-thru today, but that Akers was “flying around” at another speed at practice (was closed).— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) January 5, 2022
Such a quick return from an Achilles injury is unprecedented, so it’s difficult to set any real expectations for Akers in his debut. Are the Rams just hoping to give the running back an opportunity to get his feet wet and knock off rust ahead of the playoffs, or could we see him split carries with the tough Sony Michel? Is it fair to expect Akers to pick up right where he left off, or will he be missing some of the explosiveness we saw from him towards the end of the 2020 season? All we can do is appreciate the moments as they unfold.
But just in case you’ve forgot just how good Akers was for Los Angeles last season, here are some of his best moments from his rookie campaign:
Regular Season -
145 rushes for 625 yards (4.3 average) and 2 touchdowns
11 receptions for 123 yards (11.2 average) and 1 touchdown
46 rushes for 221 yards (4.8 average) and 2 touchdowns
3 receptions for 51 yards (17.0 average).
Week 5 at the Washington Football Team:
Finished with 9 carries for 61 yards (6.8 average) with 46 of these yards coming on a single carry. Los Angeles trounced Washington 30-10 on their way to victory.
Cam Akers for 46 yards #LARvsWAS— Christopher Reiss - Sports Bettor (@ChrisReissPicks) October 11, 2020
Week 8 at the Miami Dolphins:
Ran 9 times for 35 yards (3.9 average) and had 1 reception for 19 yards. This was one of quarterback Jared Goff’s worst performances during the 2020 season and LA had little going offensively.
Cam Akers’ future is so bright @thereal_cam3 @RamsNFL pic.twitter.com/D0cQJomWsW— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) March 23, 2021
Week 14 versus the New England Patriots:
Akers had his best single game performance against New England on Thursday night as the Rams were out to avenge the 2018 Super Bowl loss. The running back accumulated 29 attempts for 171 yards (5.9 average) and 2 catches for 23 yards.
Los Angeles came out on top 24-3.
THE CAM AKERS TAKEOVER STARTS NOWpic.twitter.com/iusbuk2xi8— PFF (@PFF) December 11, 2020
Playoffs - Wildcard round at the Seattle Seahawks:
Akers had 122 yards in the first half of this game, and he had one of his more impressive plays of the season on a reception after the quarterback evaded pressure. He finished with 28 carries for 131 yards (4.7 average) and added 2 catches for 45 yards through the air.
Cam Akers so good.— Tomahawk Nation (@TomahawkNation) January 9, 2021
Rams total offensive yards: 196— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) January 9, 2021
Cam Akers total yards: 122 pic.twitter.com/O7V7uZM7Kb
Playoffs - Divisional round at the Green Bay Packers:
With the frigid Lambeau conditions and Goff dealing with a thumb injury, LA broke out the wildcat package for Akers - which resulted in a bruising touchdown. The Rams lost this game, ending their season; however, Akers’ individual performance capped off a promising rookie year. He was efficient in this game, but LA had a sizeable deficit and the game script forced them to pass often.
Akers finished with 18 rushes for 90 yards (5.0 average) and a touchdown. He also had a reception for 6 yards.
Cam Akers takes the direct snap and bruises in.— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 16, 2021
Rams cut the lead to 25-18
(via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/5hfQaSSliS
Cam Akers being disrespectful to a 275 pound linebacker.— NoleGameday (@TheNoleGameday) January 17, 2021
You love to see it. #Noles pic.twitter.com/UMtNjWZfmw
What thoughts do you have on the highly anticipated return of Cam Akers? Let us know in the comments below.