Though the Rams’ 2008 season fell short of expectations, Steven was every bit the offensive juggernaut St. Louis was hoping for after signing SJ to a six-year contract extension during training camp.
In his fifth season, the 25 year-old Jackson put up a team-high 86.8 rushing yards per game despite missing four contests due to a lingering right quad injury. That total was Steven’s second-highest average in his career, proving he’s still got plenty left in the tank despite suffering a few nicks and bruises along the way.
|SJax ended 2008-09 with 1,000+ yards for the fourth straight season (StLouisRams.com).|
Steven’s 118.4 average total yards per game marked the third straight season that SJ has surpassed the century mark in that category. But if you discount Steven’s Nov. 2 outing, in which he was limited to only 17 yards on seven carries due to lingering injuries, SJ averaged an astounding 129.1 yards per game in 11 contests, which catapults him into the league’s elite yard-gainers.
No. 39 also rushed for over 1,000 yards for the fourth consecutive season, tying boyhood idol Eric Dickerson for the Rams’ record.
SJax competed in 12 of the Rams’ 17 games this season—that gave Steven five straight seasons of 12 games played or more, which began when he entered the league in 2004.
GAME OF THE YEAR
Steven was virtually unstoppable against the Cowboys in the Edward Jones Dome on Oct. 19, racking up 160 yards on the ground on only 25 carries, and reached pay dirt a season-high three times. One of 39’s T.D.’s came on a 56-yard scamper down the right sideline, which was his longest run of the season. SJ single-handedly led the Rams to a 34-14 victory that day.
Though Steven suffered setbacks during the middle of this year’s grueling NFL campaign, he undeniably finished strong. Needing 119 yards in his final game to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the season, Steve met the challenge and conquered it.
SJ trampled over Atlanta’s defense in Week 17 to the tune of 161 yards and two scores, and helped his team to nearly upset the 11-5 playoff-bound Falcons. Steven ended the season with 1,042 yards and seven rushing touchdowns to go along with 379 receiving yards and one touchdown reception.
AS SEEN BY…
“He was playing his butt off,” Rams coach Jim Haslett said of Jackson. “I think that’s a guy you can build a great football team around.”
“I thought Steven was outstanding,” Haslett said. “That was healthy Steven. With him healthy, that’s probably what you can get every game. I thought he was into it. I thought the line did a great job for him. That was really two good running backs out there today competing.”
“He’s a hell of a running back in this league,” center Brett Romberg said. “I think he’s definitely the best I have played with in the NFL. His opportunities are endless and for him to not get 100 every game is kind of doing him an injustice. Seeing him succeed today and getting to 1,000 was great.”
IN HIS OWN WORDS
“These are the games you dream about,” Jackson said. “You had Michael Turner running the ball hard and I was trying to go out there and match him. It was one of those games where ‘let me size him up, let me try to do what he’s doing for his team.’”
“It means a lot,” Jackson said. “I look up to Eric Dickerson. I look up to a lot of backs that have been a part of this organization and franchise. It’s been a rough couple of seasons for me just being banged up and still being able to reach 1,000 yards in 12 games, I think it’s something I can take from it. Of course, you want to get to 1,500. So next year we will work really hard to get back to that place.”
3 Steven’s season-high mark for touchdowns in a single game, recorded on Oct. 19 versus Dallas.
6 The number of 90+ yard games Steven recorded in 2008, despite playing at full-health in only 11 contests.
53 SJ’s longest catch of the season, coming against the Bills in Week 4, a game in which 39 accrued 188 total yards.
56 The number of yards Steven gained on his longest run of the year, a touchdown in the Oct. 19 Dallas game.
118.4 Steven’s average total yards per game, which marked the third straight season Steve has averaged more than 100 total yards per contest.
161 Steven’s rushing output in the Week 17 contest against the Falcons, in which he only needed 119 to reach 1,000 yards for the year. Instead, Steven decided to tack on a few more to eclipse his mark against Dallas and create a new season-high.
215 SJax’s total yards against the Falcons in the best game of his 2008 campaign, which was also a season-high.
1,042 SJ’s total number of rushing yards for the season, which was tops among all Rams players and ranked 12th among NFL running backs. It was Steven’s fourth straight 1,000 yard season and the third-highest output of his career, despite missing four games.
Jackson is pleased with 161-yard day; Rams earn No. 2 pick in NFL draft (Belleville News-Democrat, Dec. 29, 2008)
Jackson gets a grand (StLouisRams.com, Dec. 28, 2008)