Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Still Have Miles to Go on Offense

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Still Have Miles to Go on Offense

Article excerpt

So here's the good news: The Rams no longer are the NFL's 32nd- ranked offense. On the strength of a 308-yard outing against Cleveland, the Rams have moved out of the cellar.

OK, it helped that San Francisco managed a measly 142 yards in last Thursday's 20-3 loss to Seattle. But the Rams are now 31st in total offense, moving ahead of the last-place 49ers, who come to town Sunday for a noon kickoff at the Edward Jones Dome.

No truth to the rumor that first downs in the Rams-49ers contest will be marked by stoppages in play, and party favors will be handed out after scores.

But even after a dominating 24-6 victory over the Browns, in a game that wasn't as close as even that final score might indicate, coach Jeff Fisher realizes the offense still needs work. Plenty of work.

"We just can't rely on Todd (Gurley) all the time," Fisher said. "At some point, it's gonna get hard to run the football until we start making some plays outside."

As you may have noticed, Gurley has been stellar since moving into the starting lineup three games ago. He has topped 100 yards rushing in all three contests, and including the 9 yards he gained in his NFL debut against Pittsburgh, he now has 442 yards rushing in basically 3 games.

That already puts Gurley at 12th in the league in rushing, and six of the 11 rushers ahead of him have yet to take their bye week. Gurley has accounted for three of the top 19 individual rushing games throughout the NFL this season. His 6.0 yards per carry is tied for the league lead among players with at least 30 carries.

As quarterback Nick Foles says: "He's just an animal, really."

That's all good. But the Rams have been unable to build and expand off that foundation. The passing game continues to struggle, and even with respect to Gurley and the running game, slow starts continue to plague the offense.

"We're still having some issues offensively that we've gotta get fixed," Fisher said. "Namely, first downs and third downs. So we're gonna continue to work on it. The players understand."

A consistent theme in Fisher's remarks Monday was that the offense has to get better across the board. It can't just be the Todd Gurley Show, because sooner or later the Rams are going to experience a Sunday where an opposing team either has the talent or comes up with the scheme to take him away.

Fisher said teams already are stacking the box with an extra defender to keep the lid on Gurley.

"Arizona did it. Green Bay did it. And so did Cleveland," Fisher said. "We've gotta do more with his teammates around him. We've gotta get more production out of the other players, get the ball down the field, take advantage of that. And that's what we're working on.

"Getting open. Creating opportunities for them to get open. And then making the throws."

Even though wide receiver Brian Quick has been back for three games, with his playing time upped from six plays against Arizona to 20 against Green Bay and 26 vs. …

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