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Todd Gurley sets mark for most yards in first four starts

ST. LOUIS -- Through four starts, no running back has been more productive than the Rams' Todd Gurley.

With two carries for 12 yards to open the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Gurley became the most prolific rusher over his first four starts since the AFL/NFL merger, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

He finished with 20 carries for 133 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown run, in the Rams' 27-6 win at the Edward Jones Dome. That brings Gurley's four-start total to 566 yards, surpassing Billy Sims' 539 in 1980.

After reaching such lofty territory, the soft-spoken Gurley didn't have much to say about his blazing start.

"It means a lot. All those things are cool," Gurley said. "But our main focus right now is just keep winning and racking up these wins every game."

Since Gurley became the starter Oct. 4 against the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams are 3-1. His 133 yards Sunday were the lowest total of the four-game stretch, but it also made him the first rookie in NFL history to rush for 125 or more yards in his first four starts.

"I keep bringing up that 'S' word, which is 'special,'" Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "I've been saying that he's special. Again, credit him to get to this point, and credit the guys around him. ... He's obviously getting a lot of people's attention."

The 71-yarder gave Gurley a run of 45 or more yards for the fourth time in as many weeks and his sixth carry of 20-plus yards on the season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, if you took the sum of Gurley's longest runs (52, 55, 48, 71) in his first four starts, he would have as many or more yards than 19 other rookie running backs do this season with 226.

All that for a player who is coming back from the torn left ACL that ended his college career in November 2014.

Even if Gurley doesn't want to bask in the praise, his teammates aren't afraid to provide it.

"Me and Justice [Cunningham] were talking on the sideline today after a couple of runs he made, and we have just never seen a back like him before," tight end Jared Cook said. "Never. It's like slow motion when the guy runs. He gets out in the open field, and just takes it on his own. I'm just glad he's on our team."

The Rams used the No. 10 overall pick on Gurley in April's NFL draft and slowly worked him into the lineup after the season started. He sat out the first two games and had a limited role in the third one before emerging as the starter.

In the four games since, Gurley has made up for lost time and then some.

"This definitely came by surprise, but I know with all the hard work I put in this offseason and just having the teammates I've got, I knew the sky was the limit," Gurley said.