Steven battled all afternoon and emerged feeling good about his healing quad, but he and the St. Louis Rams came up short, losing to the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, 34-10.

Jackson gained 64 yards on just 19 carries in the losing effort, scoring a touchdown, but fumbled twice.

“I was trying to make things happen,” Steven said. “But that’s still Football 101 for running backs: protect the ball. I was fighting for extra yards and the ball slipped out. There’s really no excuse.”

SJax battles for yards during a 34-10 loss to Arizona (AP).

Still, Steven’s teammates continued to note how big an impact No. 39’s presence is.

 “Steven’s a monster,” said Rams’ right tackle Adam Goldberg. “It’s an honor to block for him, because you know that he’ll pound out the tough yards and he’ll work just as hard and play just as physically as you do up front.”

Rams’ wideout Dane Looker agreed, saying SJ’s presence has helped defenses honest and taken some pressure off of quarterback Marc Bulger.

“[He] poses a threat for the defense,” Looker said. “They really have to make sure that they stop the run. … A good running game opens up everything else in the offense.”

SJ had it going on in the early going, but once the Rams fell behind, the offense was forced to turn to the aerial attack more often. As Bulger pointed out:

“He made some incredible runs early on…And then, again, you get behind and you kind of take him out of the game because you’ve got to start throwing the ball.”

After the game, SJax complimented the stout Arizona D for containing him as well as they did. Though the fiercest of competitors, Steven gives props where props are due.

“Their corners do a good job of keeping containment and forcing the run to stay within the tackles,” he said. “And their linebackers and their safeties do a good job with gap protections.”

In his second week back from injury, SJax remains a bit rusty, but physically, feels good.

“The leg felt great,” Jackson said. “I was really excited coming to the game knowing the leg was starting to feel really good and coming back in the right direction.”

Steven Jackson has two costly fumbles (STLtoday, Dec. 8, 2008)
Jackson frustrated by fumbles (, Dec. 7, 2008)