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For Rams to make playoff push, offense needs more than Todd Gurley

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Todd Gurley gets game ball for closing out Cleveland (1:29)

ESPN Rams reporter Nick Wagoner gives his game ball to rookie running back Todd Gurley for closing out a win against Cleveland in the second half, and Browns reporter Pat McManamon rewards kicker Travis Coons for extending his streak of made field goals. (1:29)

ST. LOUIS -- Since becoming the St. Louis Rams' starting running back in Week 4, Todd Gurley has quickly emerged as the focal point of the offense.

Gurley has gained 483 yards of offense in those three starts, and as a group the Rams' offense has gained 970 yards. For those keeping score at home, that means Gurley has contributed almost exactly 50 percent of his team's yards from scrimmage.

Gurley's emergence has been instrumental in the Rams' winning two of those three games, but if the 3-3 Rams are to truly contend for a spot in the postseason, Gurley's supporting cast needs to be better.

"We still need more production from the offense," coach Jeff Fisher said. "We just can't rely on Todd all the time. At some point, it's going to get hard to run the football until we start making some plays on the outside."

In Sunday's 24-6 win against the Cleveland Browns, Gurley's 163 total yards accounted for 53 percent of the offense's 308 yards and the fourth-highest percentage by a player in a game this season.

Although it happened in only short flashes against the Browns, the Rams' offense got a look at what it could be when someone other than Gurley and, to a lesser extent, Tavon Austin does some damage. In fact, the Rams' most dynamic drive of the day came with about four minutes left in the third quarter and was spurred by receiver Kenny Britt resurfacing from anonymity.

On consecutive plays, quarterback Nick Foles took shots deep to Britt down the right sideline. The first throw drew a 26-yard pass-interference penalty on Cleveland's Pierre Desir. The second resulted in Britt hauling in his only catch of the day, a 41-yard grab to set up Gurley's first NFL touchdown from a yard out.

"Kenny made a great catch and then drew the big penalty because Nick gave him the chance to get it on the outside," Fisher said. "And we have to continue to work at that."

The Rams' offensive woes are well-documented, whether in the form of the offensive line's protection issues or the tendency of their pass-catchers to not actually catch the ball. But one of the biggest issues has been inconsistency from skill-position players other than Gurley and Austin.

The Rams sit last in the league in passing yards per game (177.7); since Gurley became the starter, they've thrown for 475 yards and he alone has run for 433. Britt's 224 receiving yards lead the team, a season total less than Cincinnati's A.J. Green's 227 receiving yards in Week 3 against Baltimore.

From week to week, it has been difficult to predict who is going to be on his game, which makes it hard for Foles to know whom to trust and even more difficult for offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti to identify where to center his game plan aside from Gurley.

But with Gurley emerging as a bona fide star, it's safe to assume that opposing defenses are going to start loading up the box to stop him and daring Foles and the Rams' anemic passing game to beat them.

Which might also mean that instead of hoping that someone will just step up, the Rams and Cignetti might have to get creative. Against the Browns, that came in the form of a more up-tempo, no-huddle offense.

"The same thing that plagued us over recent weeks and most of the year is we have to get things going earlier and get those first downs under our belt in the first half," Fisher said. "But we picked the tempo up in the second half and cut Nick loose a little bit and we made some plays."

If that's one way the Rams try to provide support for Gurley, it's perfectly OK with Foles.

"I love it," Foles said. "I have a big history in it. It's what I did in college, high school, even in Philly. So I love the offense we're playing. I think it's great to to be able to do that. I think it really helps open things up and create some rhythm."

No matter how the Rams choose to create that rhythm, if they're going to find any semblance of consistency, they need someone from the non-Gurley division of the offense to start making plays on a regular basis.