For the second straight week, Steven Jackson put an injury out of his mind and went to war for the Rams.
He poured his heart out on the field, carrying 25 times for 114 yards — his first 100-yard rushing day of the season — despite his lingering groin strain.
Unfortunately for Steven and his St. Louis teammates, the end result wasn’t as sweet in Week 5.
Steven literally runs over one Detroit's defenders (St. Louis Post Dispatch).
The Rams dropped a chance to go over the .500 mark for the first time this season in a 44-6 loss at the hands of the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
"They played hard. Obviously they had a game plan that worked for them in their favor. They were very explosive and we were just unable to keep up," Steven told reporters after the game. "It boils down to turnovers and penalties. We were not playing smart and we were not protecting the ball. When you’re on the road and those things don’t go your way, it’s really hard to overcome."
St. Louis entered the game with a 2-2 record, tied for first in the NFC West facing an 0-4 Lions team that sat in the NFL’s cellar. For the first time in a long while, the Rams were favored to win and SJ39 said that losing a game like that can serve the team down the road.
"It’s one of those things that’s a double-edged sword. We’re not at the point where we can just show up. We’re not there yet," he said. "But I don’t think we did that. Sometimes you need a butt-whooping to let you know where you are. I don’t think guys came in one step looking Detroit over at 0-4. Heck, we’ve been in that situation a lot, so that I’m not worried about. I don’t think guys just showed up today. But it’s an eye-opener. It’s a wake-up call that, once we get back on a winning streak, because I believe that will happen again, now we won’t take anything for granted."
No. 39 entered Sunday’s game just nine yards shy of the 7,000-yard mark at 6,991 yards.
On his third carry of the day, Steven passed the 7,000-yard mark, with a hard seven-yard run to the left side of the offensive line. To watch the historic run, click here.
Steven is currently 49th on the NFL’s All-Time rushing list and sixth in career rushing yards among active players at just 26 years old. His 114 total rushing yards on Sunday pushed his career total to 7,105, just 140 yards shy of Eric Dickerson for the all-time record among Rams running backs. The 114 yards marked Steven's 24th career 100-yard rushing day.
Former Rams coach Scott Linehan, now the offensive coordinator in Detroit had nothing but praise for Steven while the Rams were in Detroit.
"First of all, he's a beast, I mean, he's a monster," Linehan told MLive.com. "He can run fast and he can run physical. Early in his career, he was a guy who was looking to get some space and run, but here's a big back who can play like a big back and he can play like a fast, home-run threat. Those are two things that are extremely hard to defend.
"In my first year in St. Louis, he had 1,600 yards rushing and had over 90 catches — almost had 1,000 yards — that's impressive. His ability to not only do those things as a runner but also be an effective receiver makes him one of the elite players in all of pro football."
CAN’T BE STOPPED
Thought the Lions tried to pack it in against No. 39 on defense, he still managed to be the one guy they couldn’t stop, even with a strained groin.
Steven carried the ball a season-high 25 times and rumbled for his highest total on the ground since Week 11 last year. It marked the second straight year that S-Jax went over 100 yards rushing against the Lions. He rushed for 149 against Detroit last season in a Rams win.
"Their D-line didn't stop the run," Steven told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It's hard when you get behind by so many points to continue to go to the run like we would like to. But (Kyle) Vanden Bosch, and (Ndamukong) Suh, those guys, they did a great job of getting pressure on Sam [Bradford], flushing him out of the pocket and things like that. But I don't want to give them credit for stopping the run."
The Rams’ passing game was limited not only by the pressure put on Bradford, but also by a big-time injury to receiver Mark Clayton. Clayton, who had been a revelation since his arrival in St. Louis a week before the season helping the Rams reach their 2-2 mark, went down with a knee injury in the first half. He will miss the rest of the season, but that’s where Steven believes someone else needs to step up.
"Losing him set us back. When a guy like that goes down, you need someone to step up," S-Jax said. "We make no excuses, someone has to step up in his absence. But we got into situations where we were in the red zone and either we turned the ball over or we had penalties that set us back. We just didn’t fluidly move the ball like we had in the other games."
When he did get into open space, on Sunday, No. 39 was a beast to bring down and nine of his 25 carries went for seven yards or more. ESPN’s Mike Sando called Steven’s performance a silver lining for the Rams in defeat and SJ39 received the highest marks of all the Rams in Bill Coats' Rams Report Card for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Rams (2-3) will get back to work this week with their sights set on getting back to .500 with a win.
Standing in their way will be the San Diego Chargers (2-3) another team looking to get back even after a crushing defeat at the hands of the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Steven hopes that the Rams learn from their mistakes against Detroit and put in a good week of hard work headed into the San Diego game.
"We’re going to go to the film and it’s going to prove to us that we have to continue to fight every play, each and every snap. Guys are going to have to fight for extra yards," S-Jax said on Sunday. "Keep fighting. We all hate to lose. We hate to lose in this fashion but the one thing about it is, we’re still in the second quarter of the season. We can learn from this. We have a really young team. It’s going to be something we can learn from."
Kickoff from the Edward Jones Dome is scheduled for 12 p.m. CST and the game can be seen regionally on FOX.
Steven Jackson post game press conference (StLouisRams.com, October 10, 2010)
NFL Game Center: St. Louis Rams vs. Detroit Lions (NFL.com, October 10, 2010)
RB Steven Jackson has Detroit Lions talking (MLive.com, October 9, 2010)
Silver Linings: Rams at Lions (ESPN.com, October 11, 2010)
Clayton is out for the season (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 11, 2010)
Rams Report Card (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 11, 2010)