On Sunday against Cleveland, Todd Gurley became the first rookie to rush for 125-plus yards in each of his first three NFL starts since Cadillac Williams did it in 2005. In other words, the St. Louis Rams back, whose career was slightly delayed as he recovered from last November's ACL tear, has wasted no time since cracking the starting lineup in Week 4.
Gurley also has racked up six runs of 20-plus yards, and he has three of 40-plus (which is tied for the most in the NFL). But he's obviously not the only back banging out big plays. Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell -- who has three 100-yard games this season -- leads the league with eight runs of 20-plus yards, while Minnesota's Adrian Peterson -- who had a breakout 75-yard run in the Vikings' win over Detroit on Sunday -- has matched Gurley with three runs of 40-plus yards. And don't forget about Atlanta's Devonta Freeman, the league's leading rusher after seven weeks.
After watching monstrous gain after monstrous gain, who is the most explosive running back in the league through Week 7?
Every so often, you get a talent that can be really good in the right system, and that is what's happening in St. Louis. I don't think Gurley will hit a wall, because he didn't play the first two weeks and only had six carries in Week 3, which means he'll be playing about the same amount of games that one would in college. I just think his speed, vision, football IQ and determination to get things going are all things that are hard to teach.
Those things set him apart right now from a lot of other players.
A few other guys who are right up there with Peterson are
Le'Veon Bell and
Jamaal Charles, who shouldn't be left out of the conversation, though he will, of course,
miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Adrian Peterson to be good, and we expected
Matt Forte and other good guys to get a lot of scrimmage yards, but Freeman is better than I expected.