NFC West Power Rankings: Week Eight

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2 – St. Louis Rams, 4-3 (Last week: 2)

Nov 1, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) celebrates after scoring a seventy one yard touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Exactly how good is St. Louis Rams’ rookie running back Todd Gurley? In the first three weeks of the season, he didn’t play in two games, and gained nine yards on six carries in the third. Over the past four weeks, he has gained 566 rushing yards, by far the most in the league in that span. The 566 yards is the most ever by a back in his first four starts, passing by Billy Sims‘ 539 yards set in 1980. His 575 total rushing yards already has him fifth in the NFL.

In 1983, Eric Dickerson (coincidentally, also a Ram) rushed for 1,808 yards, the most in NFL history for a rookie. If Gurley keeps the pace he has set over the past four games (141.5 yards per game), he’ll break Dickerson’s rookie record, with 1,849 yards.

On Sunday against the 49ers, Gurley recorded his fourth straight game of over 125 yards, as he ran for 133 yards on 20 carries. 71 yards came on a long touchdown run in the second quarter.

The Rams’ defense held a downtrodden 49ers’ offense to 189 yards, just 38 on the ground, 11 first downs, and two field goals. St. Louis also recorded three sacks (one each from Michael Brockers, Robert Quinn, and Ethan Westbrooks), bringing their total to 26, second-most in the NFL.

St. Louis is back over .500, and have won three of four games since Todd Gurley became a starter. This is the latest in the season the Rams have had a winning record since 2006, when they were also 4-3 through seven games. With a winnable game next on the schedule against the Minnesota Vikings, the Rams have a good chance to make up a bit of ground towards first place.

Next: Head of the Pack