In his first game in several weeks, SJax made his presence known on the gridiron, providing nearly all of St. Louis’ offensive punch in a 16-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday.

Rushing for 94 yards on just 21 carries — a stellar 4.5 ypc average — Steven made it abundantly clear what a difference maker he is.

Had he played more than three quarters, perhaps he might have provided the knockout blow needed to provide the Rams with their third victory of the season. Instead, he was kept on the sidelines for the duration of the final period — in keeping, St. Louis coach Jim Haslett later explained, with the original game plan, which called for No. 39 to get 15-18 touches for the day.

Steven ended with 22 total touches.

"About the 30th play, he started dragging a little bit," Haslett explained. "His conditioning was actually fine. He did a great job with that.”

“You could tell that he hadn’t played in a month. He was a little sore, and I commend him for fighting through it and trying to get in there and play. He did a good job while he was in there.”

Indeed, SJax agreed that — while frustrating — his fourth quarter inactivity was due to a predetermined strategy.

“The situation was we felt like we were going to have to pass a little more and Kenneth Darby has been doing a great job for us in that aspect…We thought we would go that route. If it was going to be a sure run, then we’d come back with me…It was definitely frustrating, but it’s not something that caught me off guard…I knew I was going to share some time with the guys. Darby does a great job running routes, and we had to go in the two-minute offense.”

There was no shortage of gratitude concerning Steven’s return, or his gritty effort. As Haslett explained:

“I appreciated Steven going out there under the conditions…He hadn’t done much in a month, and to go out there and carry the ball—and I thought he was very effective running the ball—but in a game-like situation, he hasn’t had anything for a while.”

No. 39’s teammates echoed that sentiment.

“Everyone knows Steven is one of our best players,” said Rams’ wide receiver Dane Looker. “He’s a big part of our offense and when he’s not in there, we miss him.

“We’ve struggled in many areas, but Jackson gave us a boost today. He ran hard, especially early when he was pretty fresh. We just hope that his leg is OK.”

Fortunately, it looks like Steven’s leg is doing just fine, and his thigh injury wasn’t re-aggravated.

“The leg is a little tight, sore, all the things the doctor said to expect is definitely what I’m feeling,” Steven said Monday. “I’ll ice it tonight and make sure it doesn’t swell up on me like last time.”

St. Louis Rams have trouble scoring in the red zone (STLtoday, Dec. 2, 2008)
Jackson says he’s feeling OK after Dolphins game (STLtoday, Dec. 2, 2008)