Steven Jackson and the Rams closed the 2009 season at home on Sunday looking for one more win to take into the offseason. But after taking an early lead over the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis ran out of gas.
Steven rushed for 63 yards on 20 carries and was held without a catch for only the second time this season as St. Louis dropped Sunday's finale 28-6 at the Edward Jones Dome.
"We have a lot of things that need to get turned around," S-Jax told the AP of the end of the season. "Something has to turn."
Your NFC rushing champ, Steven Jackson (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
No. 39 played for the fifth time in six games with a herniated disc in his back. The pain never subsided and Steven has been told it won't until he gives it time to rest, as he told the Belleville News-Democrat:
"It was hard,'' Jackson said of dealing with a herniated disc in his back over the final six weeks of the season. "It's not something you plan on doing, and it's not something you can get used to doing.''
Steven's accomplishments this season were unparalleled on a team that finished 1-16 and a tribute to his determination, dedication and grit. No. 39 finished with 1,416 rushing yards to lead the NFC by 33 yards over Adrian Peterson. Steven trailed only one man for the NFL rushing title, Tennessee's Chris Johnson, who became only the sixth player in NFL history to break the 2,000-yard mark on Sunday.
But despite his individual accolades, which many have attributed to he and he alone, S-Jax continued to give credit to his teammates for their hard work, as he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"I'm very proud of the offensive line, the fullback and even the receivers," Jackson said. "It's really meaningful. I share that with the whole offensive unit. It's definitely something we can build off of, something we can be proud of."
REFLECTIONS ON '09
In spite of everything that happened this season, a 1-15 year that has assured the Rams of the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Tim Klutsarits of Examiner.com believes Action Jackson is a worthwhile reason for Rams fans to keep watching and maintain hope:
"Steven Jackson is the one good reason to buy a ticket to a Rams game. He has come to play each and every week and has been a terrific player and a true warrior in 2009. Jackson finished on top in the NFC in rushing and that is amazing considering how bad this team was. The Rams need to get Jackson some help this offseason. He deserves it."
Steven's 1,738 yards from scrimmage easily led the team and S-Jax was also the team leader in receptions and the NFC leader in rushing attempts despite missing a game due to injury.
"I think he’s had a great year and (he’s) a hardworking guy," Rams quarterback Kyle Boller told the Telegraph. "We’ve been in a lot of games. It’s not like we’ve gotten blown out every game. I definitely think that the team is making progress."
Though Steven would probably like to forget this season of adversity it will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of he and his teammates until the first snaps of 2010 minicamp. Still there are some things No. 39 said he'll take with him from the 2009 campaign:
"I will remember this season as a trying season," Jackson said. "A season that I think we as a team overcame a lot. No question what we’re building. Everyone is playing hard. Everyone is lobbying for next year. I think now we have a core of good guys. We just got to go and bring in some other guys to help us.
"All I can do is get myself ready for hopefully another successful season. I trust and believe that things that need to get addressed will get addressed."
The end of the Sunday's game may very well have been the end of the career for one of the most prolific players in St. Louis Rams history, Isaac Bruce.
Bruce, now a member of the 49ers, got the start on Sunday in what he believes will be his final game and although he took only one snap, Bruce was honored by the Rams with a video tribute. Steven thought the recognition for Bruce was well deserved, and S-Jax gave Bruce a hug when both players met at midfield as captains before the game:
"That was really classy,'' Steven told the Belleville News-Democrat of the tribute to Bruce. "If this is really going to be his last game, that's the way he should go out. I'm pretty sure all the fans around here locally really appreciate all the years he has put in.
"He's definitely a Ram great. I think we all expect to see him in the Ring of Fame.''
Steven Jackson will get a few weeks to rest his back before he heads to Miami, hoping to be ready to play in the 2010 AFC-NFC Pro-Bowl on January 31.
San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams (ESPN.com, January 3, 2010)
Last whimper for Rams (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 4, 2010)
Jackson finishes as NFC's top rusher (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 4, 2010)
Rams lose 28-6 to 49ers but lose No. 1 pick (Examiner.com, January 3, 2010)
Jackson's second Pro-Bowl selection – a well deserved honor (The Telegraph, December 30, 2009)
Finally it's over (Belleville News-Democrat, January 4, 2010)