Of course, the narrative may well rest on the shoulders of Just Todd Gurley. The Rams' 2015 NFL Draft first-rounder had the first standout performance of his career finishing with 146 yards on 19 carries.
But it was how, and when those yards came, that really clarifies his performance:
Todd Gurley rushing yards (attempts) by quarter: 1st: -3 (1) 2nd: 5 (3) 3rd: 38 (6) 4th: 106 (9)— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) October 5, 2015
And to pin the Rams' win on Gurley alone would be unfair. Nick Foles, again, offered a measured game manager's performance. Tavon Austin did Tavon Austin things (the good kind). And the defense held their backs against the wall.
OLB Alec Ogletree was the big name here with a severe ankle injury in the first half. He'll require surgery and could ultimately miss the rest of 2015. It's a tough pill to swallow as Tree was having the best year of his young career and turning into one hell of a linebacker.
Tough to quibble about this one in the immediate aftermath. The lack of offensive yardage is an issue. The Rams were practically handed the opening touchdown, and much of the ground game came from Gurley's late bursts. Some consistency, and some beans in the passing game, will be needed to build on today's showing.
The Week 4 Monday Night Football game between the Seahawks and Lions has serious impact here as the NFC West is spreading out. That's largely due to the San Francisco 49ers now falling to 1-3 at the bottom of the division. Seattle is at 1-2 and will be looking to stick with the Rams by holding home court against 0-3 Detroit. The Cardinals remain the leaders in the West at 3-1, though the Rams are now in grasping distance.
If we look across the conference, the 4-0 pairing in the NFC South of the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers looks like it may soak up a wild card slot, though it is admittedly early. The Rams' Week 5 opponent, the Green Bay Packers, are out in front at 4-0 and could begin running away with the division early if they can get wins from their next two games before their Week 7 bye.
But first up...
...is the Rams. St. Louis heads to Lambeau in Week 5 ahead of their Week 6 bye, and it's a pivotal one. With the Browns, 49ers, Vikings and Bears as the Rams' first four post-bye opponents with a combined record of 5-11, the Rams-Packers test could twist the Rams into some very, very positive waters with a win.
Make no mistake. It's a hell of a tall task to deal with QB Aaron Rodgers and Co. in Green Bay. But the opportunity facing the Rams is colossal.
For now, though, we've a couple days to soak in the win over the Cardinals in Phoenix and hope the Rams can make good on the promise of their defense and JTG.