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Todd Gurley emerges as dominant force in Rams' win

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Rookie Todd Gurley exploded for 136 yards in the second half as the St. Louis Rams held on for a 24-22 nail-biting victory over the Arizona Cardinals in a hard-fought Week 4 NFC West showdown. Here's what you need to know:

1. We've seen the Jekyll-and-Hyde Rams pull off impressive divisional wins in the Jeff Fisher era, but this one had a new feel with Gurley and Tavon Austin emerging as difference-makers. Austin's elusiveness almost single-handedly kept the offense afloat until Gurley's dynamic combination of power and speed put a relentless Cardinals defense on its heels late in the game. The rookie rushed for more yards against Arizona than Mark Ingram, Matt Forte and Carlos Hyde combined in the first three weeks of the season. As obvious as Gurley's talent is, it was just as telling that he had the awareness to burn the clock rather than running out of bounds or trying to gain extra yardage on the game's final drive. He showed all of the traits of a clock-killing finisher.

2. Outgaining the Rams 447-328, the Cardinals will rue their mistakes and missed opportunities against the first quality defense they have faced this season. The NFL's best red-zone offense failed to capitalize on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line early and was forced into four field goals after moving the chains. Larry Fitzgerald and rookie David Johnson both lost fumbles and Carson Palmer threw a costly interception. For all of that misfortune, Palmer had a chance to win the game only to sail a couple of passes on third and fourth down on the brink of field-goal territory. Make no mistake, Bruce Arians' well-rounded team remains one of the NFL's powerhouses.

3. For the second week in a row, the Rams played bend-but-don't-break defense against a high-flying offense. Palmer was sacked more times on the opening possession than he had through the first three games combined. He was hit nine times and taken out of his comfort zone throughout the afternoon. The opportunistic St. Louis defense also forced three fumbles, deflected six passes, intercepted Palmer in the end zone and made a mess of Arizona's nearly pristine red-zone conversion rate. With a trip to undefeated Green Bay on the horizon, the loss of playmaking linebacker Alec Ogletree is a letdown. Coach Jeff Fisher revealed after the game that Ogletree will need surgery to repair an ankle injury suffered during the game's second half.

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