He only carried 19 times for 47 yards on Sunday, but to see Steven Jackson run each of those 19 times was to see a man battling with every fiber of his being for his team and his fans.
Steven’s never-say-die running style was not enough for the Rams to overcome the Tennessee Titans vaunted rushing attack or the tribulations of St. Louis rookie quarterback Keith Null in a 47-7 loss on Sunday. But it can be said with absolute certainty that SJ39 has not given up on his team — even when everyone else has already buried them.
Despite the struggles of the Rams and a back injury, Steven has the second-most rushing yards in the entire NFL (courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
Early Sunday, reports stated that No. 39 had been kept out of practice for the last three weeks for a herniated disc. Had Steven decided to sit out then, anyone would have understood. That is not the nature of the NFL's most driven running back. Even on a 1-12 team, he played on, and since the injury surfaced before the November 29 game against Seattle, No. 39 has rushed for 248 yards on 70 carries.
He remains the workhorse back for a struggling Rams team that on Sunday used its third quarterback of the season. S-Jax leads the league in rushing attempts with 285 and he’s still second in rushing yards with 1,279.
The Titans keyed on Steven all day on Sunday and the Rams could accomplish little to help him get a hole to run through, as Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“We did a good job of stopping a really good running back,” Vanden Bosch said. “He gets a lot of yards after contact, but we were getting two or three guys to the ball, not letting him get those extra yards. “That’s what defense is all about: stopping the run.”
Steven had little to say after the game. But despite his deep frustration, S-Jax wouldn’t allow his emotions to boil over. As quoted in the Belleville News-Democrat:
“Instead of standing here embarrassing myself, and my family, I’m just going to say I’m tired. I’m just tired. I’m tired. You fill in the blanks. However you want to write the article, however you want to say it, I’m just tired,” Jackson said before walking away from his locker.
In a report for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, columnist Bernie Miklasz echoed Steven’s sentiments:
“Tired of the losing?
Tired of playing with a stiff, sore back for a lost cause?
Tired of getting beaten up every week?
“I’m tired. You fill in the blanks,” Jackson said. “However you want to write the article, however you want to say it, I’m just tired.”
Aren’t we all, Steven.
Aren’t we all.”
The Rams return home next week to host the Houston Texans. Kickoff from the Edward Jones Dome is scheduled for Sunday at Noon CST and all the action can be seen on CBS.
Titans smash struggling Rams, Jackson visibly upset after game (Belleville News-Democrat, December 14, 2009)
Source: Jackson has herniated disc (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 13, 2009)
Titans’ Johnson lives up to the billing (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 14, 2009)
Have the Rams bottomed out (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 14, 2009)