Every week this season, the St. Louis Rams have learned something about themselves. This week, the Rams confirmed that despite their struggles, they have a superstar in their backfield.
S-Jax ran 23 times for 134 yards on Sunday, yet even that Herculean effort wasn't enough to prevent a 42-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
How many Colts does it take to tackle No. 39? (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
After the game, Steven reiterated his belief that the Rams (0-7) need to learn how to win, as quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"We're playing good football here and there; we have spurts of it," said Steven Jackson, "We have to learn how to put four quarters of good football together, go back to the drawing board and learn how to win games. That's what the biggest issue is right now. We don't know how to win a game right now."
Steven was bottled up for most of the first half, rushing 10 times for just 33 yards, but as the Rams came out of the break with the ball, No. 39 exploded.
He carried for 14 yards on the first drive of the second half, which was doomed by penalties and gained 44 yards on four carries during St. Louis' second drive, with three consecutive runs of more than 10 yards.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described the action in his column:
"On three consecutive plays, Jackson went galloping through the Colts' defense like a powerful Clydesdale, dreadlocks flying, arms, feet and knees pumping high as one of those brawny workhorses. Jackson slammed into the heart of the line of scrimmage and kept on slamming, dragging linemen and linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties like they were Dalmations on the beer wagon joyride."
But after a run for a loss by Samkon Gado and a sack of Marc Bulger, Steven could only grind out eight yards on 3rd and 21. Josh Brown's field goal made it 21-6.
S-Jax finished with 95 yards rushing in the third quarter alone.
In his ESPN.com game wrap-up, Mike Sando said that Steven's performance, along with that of receiver Donnie Avery, need to be things the Rams feed off of:
"Receiver Donnie Avery got deep for a 50-yard reception, Steven Jackson topped 100 yards and still the Rams never threatened. That would qualify as discouraging for the Rams against most opponents, but not against the Colts. If the Rams were going to lose — and there was never any doubt regarding this outcome — they were better off with Avery and Jackson making positive contributions."
STEVEN GETS HIS DUE
After his huge game, No. 39's supporters were a plenty.
At Yahoo.com, NFL writer Charles Robinson had Steven on the winning side of his Winners and Losers column:
"Hard to put anything about the Rams on the positive side of the ledger, but if you’ve watched Jackson, you understand why. He is playing harder right now and showing more on-field leadership than I’ve ever seen from him. For a guy who was branded as temperamental and injury prone, Jackson should be changing a lot of minds right now. Great player in a bad situation."
Jeff Roman of Rams fan blog Rams Gab was also complimentary of S-Jax:
"Jackson continued the trend of running incredibly hard in a game thats result was no longer in doubt. He continues to show his young team mates the meaning of playing hard despite the score."
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is tired of hearing people rip Steven's performance:
"I’m sure his critics will find something to gnaw on. He had 134 yards rushing against the Colts. He has 635 yards rushing in 7 games this season, even though defenses routinely crowd eight or even nine players in the box to crack down on him. He leads the NFL in yards gained after contact. He’s among the top seven for most broken tackles. He’s among the league leaders (top 6) in runs that gain 10+ yards. Let me see if I can find something for the haters: OK, Jackson doesn’t have a rushing touchdown this season, and he occasionally takes himself out of the game to catch his breath. There you go."
Rams Examiner Tim Klutsarits watched in awe as Steven ran with as much passion as the great Rams backs of old:
"I don't know what else he can possibly do to win a game for the Rams. He ran as hard as any running back I have ever witnessed in a St. Louis uniform, including Marshall Faulk and Ottis Anderson."
Steven's 134 yards on Sunday brought him to 635 yards on the season.
He moved up the ledger to third in the league in rushing with the performance, behind only Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson.
But after the game, Steven wasn't eager to talk about his own performance, as quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"Excuse me. Excuse me," Jackson said. "We're 0-7 right now. And I'm just focused on getting this team turned around."
Steven then told reporters that despite his frustration, he will not stop fighting for or believing in his team:
"You've got to start with yourself first. If you don't believe — it's hard to sell something you don't believe in. So I have to just go out there and run hard. And continue to show guys that I'm fighting for each and every yard in each and every game."
Wrap-up: Colts 42, Rams 6 (ESPN.com. October 25, 2009)
St. Louis Rams suffer 17th loss in a row (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 26, 2009)
Rams have a high mountain to climb in rebuilding process (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 26, 2009)
Quick takes on the Rams' latest loss (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 25, 2009)
Steven Jackson simmers as Rams stumble (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 26, 2009)
Not much of a game: Lopsided loss to Colts drops Rams to 0-7 (Belleville News-Democrat, October 26, 2009)
Silver Linings: Rams vs. Colts (ESPN.com, October 25, 2009)
Fans, Quinn, lose as Browns stick with Anderson (Yahoo! Sports, October 25, 2009)
Colts pound Rams 42-6 (Rams Gab, October 25, 2009)
Colts Blow Out Rams 42-6 (Examiner.com, October 25, 2009)