Fisher: Gurley’s great, but he could use some support
ST. LOUIS — It’s been a big coming-out party for Todd Gurley, the first St. Louis Rams rookie to rush for 100 yards in three straight games since Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson in 1983.
The team could use a lot more from the rest of the offense, and take some heat off the kid.
Coach Jeff Fisher said Monday he got four quarters of production from the defense, which had four sacks and recovered four fumbles, and from special teams in Sunday’s 24-6 victory over the Browns. He said he got one half from the offense.
"We need to do better across the board," Fisher said. "Getting open, creating opportunities and making throws."
Nick Foles was 15 for 23 for just 163 yards, 41 of those on Kenny Britt’s lone catch to set up Gurley’s 1-yard run for his first NFL touchdown. Tavon Austin had a few moments, with four receptions for 43 yards and one carry for 21 yards.
"Yeah, it was a little bit of a slow start," Foles said. "We were able to come out in the second half and get some rhythm."
The Rams have been woeful in the first quarter, scoring 17 points, and all of them are off turnovers. Rodney McLeod returned a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown on the Browns’ first series, and William Hayes’ sack and strip set up a field goal on the second possession.
Austin caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter at Arizona in Week 4, but that too came off a turnover after Mark Barron forced David Johnson to fumble on the opening kickoff and Daren Bates recovered at the 17.
The Rams (3-3) survived the slogging Sunday because of big plays from the defense. Going to a no-huddle offense for all or parts of three series in the second half seemed to help some.
"I love it," Foles said. "It’s what I did in college, high school, even in Philly."
Teams are already game planning to stop Gurley, and they won’t stop until the Rams (3-3) get production elsewhere.
"We just can’t rely on Todd all the time," Fisher said after the game. "At some point it’s going to get hard to run, until we start making some plays on the outside."
The offensive line that includes two rookies is much better on run blocking, and St. Louis totaled 158 yards rushing with a 6.1-yard average against Cleveland. Gurley is very good at shedding tackles and getting that extra yard or two with whatever openings the line has been able to provide.
Gurley’s first TD, which made it 17-6 late in the third quarter, nearly didn’t happen. Fisher was several steps onto the field gesturing for a timeout because the play clock was about to run down, but officials didn’t notice and Gurley went in untouched.
Fisher said the play clock actually expired, also unnoticed by officials, because of an expectation Britt’s 41-yarder might have been reviewed for a possible touchdown. It wasn’t and the Rams didn’t have enough time to get personnel down to the 1.
Fisher said he began asking for a timeout with :02 left on the play clock, but said the back judge had been focused on the fact the Browns had only 10 players on the field.
"They didn’t see me. It technically should have been delay of game," Fisher said. "It ended up working out good for us."
The Rams are .500 this late in the year for the first time since 2012, when they were 6-6-1 but lost two of the last three. The last time they had a winning record at the end of October was in 2006, when they were 4-3.