NFL Wire News

Rams seek improvement on third down


The Sports Xchange

EARTH CITY, Mo. — -The St. Louis Rams’ passing game and third-down percentage have been inconsistent all season. The last two weeks have dropped the third-down conversion percentage to a woeful 25.9.

Big plays helped win Sunday’s game against the 49ers. Running back Todd Gurley scored on a 71-yard run. A 49-yard pass play to tight end Jared Cook led to another touchdown and a 66-yard catch-and-run on a short pass from quarterback Nick Foles to wide receiver Tavon Austin provided the final points. That play, on third-and-4, was the only successful third-down play of the game for the Rams.

Those three plays accounted for 186 of the Rams’ 388 yards (47.9 percent). The team’s other 61 plays totaled 202 yards (3.3 yards per play).

Said Foles, when asked if the offense is developing an identity, “It’s developing it. I would say that’s the main word. We’re not there yet. We’re really not close. We can keep improving in a lot of areas and that’s how we look at it. It’s great to get a win. It was a great team win, but we have to keep developing. Today was 50/50 pass and run, yardage-wise, which is great. You want to be able to do both. So, we just have to keep developing. We have a lot of explosive players, and our O-line is really coming along and doing a great job.”

The Rams did have 197 yards rushing and 191 passing, but they had 38 running plays (not including three kneeldowns) and 23 pass plays.

–Fisher said the coaching staff spent a lot of Monday after the game working on ways to improve the offense.

He said after the game, “I can’t wait to get back to work in the morning. As a matter of fact, we’re going to give some players a little bit extra time off tomorrow so we can dig deep into it as a staff; just to try and make more plays.”

–The Todd Gurley show continued. In four starts, the Rams are 3-1 and Gurley has rushed for 566 yards, the most ever by a rookie in his first four starts. Billy Sims had the previous high with 539. He also became the first rookie ever to have four games with at least 125 yards rushing.

The 71-yard touchdown run was his fourth gain of at least 48 yards, and those four runs totaled 226 yards, 39.3 percent of his 575 total. Gurley also has nine runs of 20 yards or more, totaling 344 yards, which is 59.8 percent of his total yardage. His other 85 attempts have gained 231 yards (2.7 per carry).

Finally, the 629 yards he has gained from scrimmage in his four starts is 46.3 percent of the Rams’ total yardage of 1,358.

Said Fisher, “I keep bringing up that ‘S’ word, which is ‘special.’ I’ve been saying that he’s special. Again, credit him to get to this point and credit the guys around him. They bought into the run game. They bought into that philosophy, which you have to have. He’s obviously getting a lot of people’s attention.”

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