Rams getting kick out of 3-1 start, want to keep it rolling
By SCHUYLER DIXON
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Greg The Leg didn't need any long kicks to beat the Dallas Cowboys. Just seven steady swings.
Now the Los Angeles Rams will see if they can build on a 3-1 start after failing badly at it a year ago.
Greg Zuerlein kicked a career-high seven field goals - all from 49 yards or closer - and Todd Gurley had a 53-yard catch-and-run touchdown among 215 total yards in a 35-30 victory on Sunday.
One of just two kickers with two field goals of 60 yards or longer in his career, Zuerlein didn't need one beyond 43 yards to help the Rams score on five straight possessions in the second half after trailing by 11 points in the second quarter.
The sixth-year pro, with a career success rate of 81 percent, matched his season total coming in and has made all 14 kicks this season.
"He's Mr. Automatic," coach Sean McVay said.
And that's something second-year quarterback Jared Goff is thinking about as the Rams approach the goal line. After last year's No. 1 overall pick lost the first seven starts of his career to finish last season, Goff has seven touchdowns with one interception this year.
Settling for field goals was good enough to put the Rams in position for the lead on Gurley's long TD catch. And it was good enough in the fourth quarter, when Zuerlein hit his final three and the Rams stopped the Cowboys in the final minute when Dallas had to get a touchdown.
"For the most part when we get inside the 30, the first thing I think about is that I got points," said Goff, who threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns. "I got points. Don't be careless with it. Greg is absolute nails."
The Rams started 3-1 last year but went 1-11 the rest of the way as coach Jeff Fisher was fired.
McVay's offense is showing some staying power, with 121 yards rushing and 94 receiving from Gurley and the same kind of balance Dallas showed while going 13-3 for the top seed in the NFC last season.
Seattle, with three NFC West titles the past four years, visits Los Angeles on Sunday after two straight road wins by the Rams.
"Big. To finish this quarter 3-1 and having them be with big road wins with our defense on the field needing to make a stop and they do," Goff said. "It's been a lot of fun so far and we look to continue it."
Things to consider as the Rams kept the Cowboys from winning a series-best fourth straight against them:
DUAL-THREAT GURLEY: Gurley joined Hall of Famers Jim Brown (1958, 1963) and Emmitt Smith (1995) as the only NFL players with at least 575 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns in the first four games. Gurley is up to 596 total yards and seven touchdowns. He started the weekend tied with Kansas City rookie Kareem Hunt for the NFL lead with six TDs.
BACK IN COURT: Ezekiel Elliott, last year's NFL rushing leader, had his third straight sub-100 game with 85 yards on 21 carries but did have two touchdowns. He matched the longest such drought from his rookie season and now waits to see what happens Monday.
That's when a federal appeals court hears arguments over the NFL's emergency request to lift the injunction that blocked a six-game suspension over a domestic case in Ohio. A ruling could some soon.
GOFF'S GROWTH: The throw to Gurley on the 53-yard score was perfect, and he led a clock-killing drive to Zuerlein's final field goal after the Cowboys scored quickly to get within 32-30 midway through the fourth quarter. "His blood pressure never raises and I think he's a special player," McVay said.
FLIP THE SCRIPT: The Cowboys stressed getting off to a better start after a sluggish first half in two straight games. Now they're going to have to talk about finishing better. Dallas had three punts and a turnover in the first four possessions of the second half after scoring on all four drives before halftime.
Green Bay, which beat the top-seeded Cowboys in a divisional playoff last season, visits Sunday. "We always say when we come out in the second half that it's zero-zero," Elliott said. "We've got to come out there like it's a new game."
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Updated October 1, 2017