The playoffs seem far out of reach for the Rams, who have lost five of six games since their promising 3-1 start, including Sunday's 49-21 shellacking at the hands of the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome.
With three of the NFL's best teams lined up on the early December schedule — at New England, home to Atlanta and at Seattle — the Rams likely will be reduced to playing for pride, which, in the eyes of running back Todd Gurley, could be a good thing.
"We just have to keep fighting, man," Gurley said Sunday when asked if he felt as if this season is slipping away. "No matter what the record is, you don't want to go out like little punks. Just keep fighting, try to win game after game, control what you can control. Move on from this so we can get ready for the Patriots."
The soundtrack to Gurley's postgame media sessions has become a broken record, with the repetitive questions about another Rams loss, another subpar game from the 2015 NFL offensive rookie of the year and what the team needs to do to improve.
"It's very frustrating," Gurley said. "It's like the same stuff every week, but it's not like we're not working hard. We're working as hard as everybody else, but when the game time comes … I don't know."
Sunday's game started well for Gurley, who caught a swing pass from Jared Goff and raced 31 yards around the left side on the Rams' first play from scrimmage. Five plays later, Goff combined with Tavon Austin for a 24-yard touchdown pass play and a 7-0 lead.
Gurley also had a 13-yard run midway through the second quarter, and his 24-yard run off right tackle late in the second pushed the Rams toward a Goff-to-Lance Kendricks 15-yard touchdown pass that pulled the Rams to within 28-21 just before halftime.
But with the Rams falling behind by two touchdowns early in the third quarter and by three touchdowns late in the third, they were forced to scrap the running game in order to play catch-up.
Gurley finished with 50 yards on 13 carries, the 17th time in 18 games he has been held under 100 yards. Gurley has rushed 200 times for 641 yards and four touchdowns on the season, an average of 3.2 yards a carry.
"We got down a lot in that third quarter, so you don't want to waste too much time running the ball," Gurley said. "We just have to stop putting ourselves in those situations."