Todd Gurley, Rams
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Rams challenging for playoff spot?

The St. Louis Rams have been a sleeper team for what feels like forever. Every season for the better part of this decade, folks have been tagging the team with that moniker, believing that sooner or later, the team would break through. Instead, the Rams have mostly just slept, instead.

St. Louis might still be a mediocre, forgettable team, but this year is providing more hope for a bit of return on investment. The Rams were able to clock the Cleveland Browns at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday afternoon, putting the team at 3-3 and in second place of the very competitive NFC West.

The Rams made waves in the offseason when general manager Les Snead traded Sam Bradford for Nick Foles, swapping quarterbacks with the Philadelphia Eagles while netting a 2016 second-round pick. Snead then signed Foles in the offseason to a two-year, $24 million extension, showing his faith in a team that needs to start winning or the front office will start seeing pink slips underneath their doors.

In the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Snead swung for the fences and took running back Todd Gurley out of the University of Georgia. Gurley was widely viewed as the top running back in the class, but a torn ACL in November made many wonder if he would be the same prospect they witnessed before the injury.

On Sunday, Gurley showcased exactly why Snead took the chance, rushing for his first NFL touchdowns. Gurley ran with burst and vision, long-distance speed and power. The youngster racked up 128 yards on 19 carries, battering the Browns on almost every attempt.

Foles was average in the win, hitting on 15-of-23 attempts for 163 yards and zero touchdowns. Notably, Foles also avoided throwing an interception, keeping the St. Louis defense in a position. That unit was able to sack Josh McCown four times, knocking him out of the game late. McCown was replaced by Johnny Manziel, who completing 4-of-5 passes for 27 yards.

The main question has to be whether or not the Rams can consistently move the ball through the air. On Sunday, the leading receiver was Tavin Austin, who caught four passes for 43 yards. Kenny Britt was limited to one catch for 41 yards, while Gurley chipped in with four receptions for 35 yards.

St. Louis has a chance to really get on a roll with some good play in the next month. The Rams host the woeful San Francisco 49ers next week before traveling to take on the Minnesota Vikings. Beyond those two games sit a home date with the Chicago Bears, and a road game against the Baltimore Ravens.

For years, the Rams have been a team long on premise and short on product. For once, maybe the latter is catching up – and surpassing – the former.

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