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Rams running back Todd Gurley aims to make sure off week didn’t throw off his game

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Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) carries the football against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 15.
(Logan Bowles / Getty Images)

Now that he’s once again loosening up defenses with regular 100-yard rushing performances, Rams running back Todd Gurley is consistently displaying the lighter side of his personality.

The third-year pro is tied for the NFL lead with eight touchdowns, and he is also among the leaders in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage.

On Thursday, Gurley joked that he told quarterback Jared Goff to give him the ball.

“All these fantasy people want their points,” he said, “so got to make them happy.”

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Gurley intends to continue his strong start on Sunday when the Rams play the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Gurley has rushed for 100 yards or more four times in the last five games, including a 106-yard effort in a 33-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in London on Oct. 22.

The victory, which improved the Rams’ record to 5-2, preceded a week off because of last Sunday’s open date.

Gurley, who favors routine, was not a fan of the timing.

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“The bye week kind of messed me up,” he said.

Gurley has said that his weekly regimen includes components such as massage and weight-lifting sessions.

The open date afforded more down time for rest. That would seem like a welcome change for a player who has shouldered much of the load for the Rams’ offense.

Not, apparently, for Gurley.

“That messed me up for sure,” he said, laughing. “Just being lazy. Four to five days can make a difference.

“Didn’t know it could make such a difference, but it definitely makes a difference.”

One of Gurley’s goals moving toward the second half of the season is to remain on point, as he has been from the start of training camp.

“My main thing is just to make sure I’m doing my same routines — not slacking off,” he said, adding, “Just making sure I’m doing the exact same thing.”

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The Rams rank second in the NFL in scoring and ninth in total offense, in large part because of coach Sean McVay’s decision to put the ball in Gurley’s hands as a runner and receiver.

Gurley is averaging 4.3 yards per carry. He also is tied for the team lead with 27 receptions, three for touchdowns.

As he does with Goff, McVay wants to see consistency from Gurley as the Rams move into their final nine games.

In an Oct. 8 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, Gurley lost a fumble near the goal line. He has since held on to the ball, and scored on a similar play against the Cardinals.

“The thing that says as much as anything about Todd is you look at any time you can use one of your premier players as an example to teach from and he responds the right way,” McVay said.

Gurley said he learned from his miscue against the Seahawks.

“No one wants to make mistakes or try to mess up,” he said, “but it’s just like life.

“You learn from your mistakes. And if you don’t then something’s wrong.”

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Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has a history with the Manning family.

Phillips was on the New Orleans Saints staff when Archie Manning played quarterback for the team. He was on the Denver Broncos staff when Peyton Manning played quarterback for that team. He was on the San Diego Chargers staff in 2004 when the team drafted quarterback Eli Manning.

“Eli was with us at San Diego,” Phillips said, pausing for dramatic effect, “for about two minutes.”

The Chargers immediately traded Eli to the Giants for quarterback Philip Rivers and three draft picks. Manning has led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles.

The Giants are 1-6.

“You can say 1-6, but this guy is a great quarterback,” Phillips said, so we have all the respect in the world for him and what they can do.”

Safety Cody Davis (thigh) did not practice. Offensive lineman Rodger Saffold was given a rest day. … Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein was named the NFC special teams player of the month for October. Zuerlein leads the NFL in scoring with 84 points. He has made 21 of 22 field-goal attempts.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein


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