Fisher: Success In Running Game a Group Effort

Posted Nov 26, 2013

Immediately following the Rams’ Week 4 loss to San Francisco, Head Coach Jeff Fisher took to the podium at the Edward Jones Dome and plainly stated that the running game would see a significant improvement. At the time, the Rams stood at 1-3, and had been limited to a season-low 18 rushing yards against the 49ers.

Fast-forward eight weeks, and the Rams are coming off the antithesis of that Week 4 setback. With 258 rushing yards against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, the Rams’ offense emphatically fulfilled their coach’s prediction. The rushing outburst marked the fifth time in the last seven games that the Rams have eclipsed 140 yards on the ground.

The trend has occurred amid a bevy of changes to the Rams’ offensive unit, from rookie RB Zac Stacy taking over as the team’s feature back to RT Rodger Saffold excelling in a Week 10 move to guard following a knee injury to veteran Harvey Dahl.

Fisher asserted that there is plenty of credit to go around for the Rams’ improvement on the ground in his Monday news conference.

“It starts upstairs,” Fisher said. “Guys have done a great job upstairs with the scheme, with the game plan and then carrying it over to the practice field. It just doesn’t stop with the line. I thought our receivers did an outstanding job. You see the effort that we got out of Chris (Givens) and ‘AP’ (Austin Pettis) on Tavon’s (Austin) long run. It doesn’t happen if not for them, and they did an outstanding job all day blocking. The run game’s turned around a little bit. We’re pleased with it, but you have to stay consistent with it and do it week after week.”

While the success on the ground had been fueled through the first half of Sunday’s game by Stacy, the Rams showed their depth at the running back position when Cunningham replaced Stacy and collected the first 100-yard rushing game of his career, finishing with 109 yards on 13 carries. Combined with the efforts of Stacy and fellow rookie Tavon Austin, who ran for a 65-yard touchdown in the first quarter, the Rams tallied the team’s highest single-game rushing total since 2001. The transition predicted eight weeks previous appears to have come to fruition.

“The last seven weeks, we’re averaging 31 rush attempts per game, and over 150 yards and about 4.9 (yards) per carry. We focused in on it and we stuck with it and we emphasized it and it’s allowed us to be successful as of late, and that’s a credit to the whole group.”