We're on the road again, but some teams can't wait to get off the road. The fourth Sunday of the 2015 season saw just five teams win on the road -- and that's including one neutral site game; for what it's worth, four of those teams won by 13 points or more. Another five away teams -- Raiders, Jaguars, Eagles, Browns, Cowboys -- lost on backbreaking last-second plays, including two game-clinching touchdowns. Overall, it was a rough week for road warriors, but that doesn't mean there weren't a few shining examples of away excellence. This week's Greatness on the Road candidates include a breakout rookie, a bruising veteran and a lockdown corner on the rise.
Greatness on the Road winner ...
Rams fans had been waiting for this day since the preseason, the day when Todd Gurley, their highly-touted, but risky first-round pick, would turn the franchise into a balanced force to be reckoned with. That day came Sunday deep in the desert in the midst of a heated divisional matchup between the Rams and the Cardinals.
After a difficult first half, Gurley went off in the later period and finished with 146 rushing yards, breaking off four runs for 20 yards or more including a career-long 52-yard run on the eventual game-winning drive. On his breakout runs, Gurley showed burst around the edges and sharp cutting ability, a sign that he is fully comfortable running on his previously injured ACL.
Gurley was the workhorse on many of the Rams' second-half drives, but he never saw the end zone -- that was reserved for wide recever Tavon Austin, who also had a breakout road performance with two touchdowns. Gurley had a great chance to score his first touchdown as a pro with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter. On a third-and-12 from the Cardinals' 38-yard line, Gurley took the ball left and through the first lines of defense, bursting down the sidelines towards his first score. However, with the Cardinals without any timeouts and the clock running, Gurley made a savvy veteran move -- one the Around the NFL team admires -- and sat on the ball at the eight-yard line, preserving the Rams' 24-22 win. If sacrificing personal glory for a much-needed victory doesn't show greatness on the road, what does?
It's amazing what some quality crumpets can do. Chris Ivory tore up the Wembley Stadium pitch on Sunday, rushing for 166 yards and a touchdown in the Jets' 27-14 win over the Dolphins. After missing last week's loss to the Eagles with a bum hamstring, Ivory came back with a vengeance. He ran through the overwhelmed Dolphins defensive line, which boasts Ndamukong Suh, to the tune of 5.7 yards per carry. With Ivory providing a consistent threat on the ground, the Jets bullied Miami into submission, dominating time of possession and rushing totals.
With one game left to play in Week 4, Ivory now ranks third in the league in rushing with 314 yards and leads the league in yards per game (104.7). The Jets running back is on pace to 1,675 yards, which would be far and away a career high -- Ivory has never rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season. With an up-and-down quarterback at the helm in New York, the bruising runner will be relied upon more and more often as the season goes along. If he can provide performances akin to Sunday's on a consistent basis, we could be seeing Ivory and the Jets breaking meaningful tackles in January.
Revis Island? That's old hat. The cornerback all the cool kids are talking about these days is Lake Norman, the algae-infested man-made body of water in the boondocks of Charlotte that swallows up unwanted intruders at will. All right, the nickname is a working title, but the arrival of Josh Norman is nothing if not a sure thing.
Norman had another standout performance Sunday in the Panthers' 37-23 win over the Buccaneers in which he recorded two more interceptions -- upping his season total to a career-high four picks -- and returned one of them for a touchdown. Of course, it's easy to look great when rookie rollercoaster Jameis Winston is eyeing down receivers, but Norman taunted the Bucs gunslinger. The cornerback waited patiently on Winston's first pick, watching the rookie's eyes all the while and jumping a short route on the outside before taking it to the house. Norman then followed Vincent Jacksonon the second interception -- still watching Winston like a hawk -- and capitalized on a poor toss from the rookie.