Steven Jackson prides himself in consistency and on Sunday afternoon in New Orleans, No. 39 set a mark that is a testament to that approach.
Steven rushed for 96 yards on 16 carries, to eclipse 1,000 yards for the sixth straight season. But even a six-yards per carry effort from No. 39 couldn't push the Rams past the defending Super Bowl Champion Saints and a 31-13 loss made S-Jax feel a little bittersweet about his accomplishment.
"It's a huge accomplishment," Steven told the St. Louis Post Dispatch after the game. "I share this with the offensive line and the receivers, who have done a great job over the season blocking for me. It just seems like these things keep coming at a bad time."
Steven collides with New Orleans' Darren Sharper (St. Louis Post Dispatch).
By busting through the 1,000-yard barrier on Sunday, Steven became just the 11th running back in NFL history to run for 1,000 yards in six consecutive seasons. Other backs that rushed for 1,000 in six straight years include Hall-of-Famers: Walter Payton and Franco Harris as well as some of the best backs of the modern era: Jerome Bettis, Corey Dillon and Ricky Watters.
Emmitt Smith holds the record for most consecutive thousand-yard rushing seasons with 11. Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin each did it for 10 straight years while LaDanian Tomlinson and Thurman Thomas eclipsed 1,000 eight straight times.
Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch delved a little deeper into Steven's rare-feat in his most recent Monday Morning backup quarterback column and found stats show that Steven would have thrived no matter what era he played in.
"Since the start of the 2005 season, Steven Jackson has six consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. But over that time Jackson is second in the NFL in average yards rushing per game (85.7), and is second in the NFL in average yards from scrimmage per game (114.5). He's third in overall yards rushing and second in total yards from scrimmage since the start of '05.
Some would take a swipe at Jackson by pointing out that the 1,000-yard rushing season has lost value because of the 16-game schedule, up from the 14-game schedule the NFL used to play. But that really doesn't apply to Jackson. Why? Because his average yards rushing per game since 2005 (85.7) translates into about 1,200 yards rushing in a season over a 14-game schedule."
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford gave Steven plenty of praise for his consistency and what it means to the Rams:
"That's extremely impressive," quarterback Sam Bradford told the Post-Dispatch. "Steven's a great back. He ran hard today. I thought he was big for us early. But when we got behind, we had to start throwing it a little bit more. I think that's why we got away from the run. But that's just a tribute to him and how hard he works."
To watch Steven talk more about his approach to the game, throughout his career, with FOX's Pam Oliver, click here.
The Rams' loss to the Saints gave Steven and his teammates an idea of what they need to improve on to be a championship caliber team.
But Steven told Rams Gab that after the game, coach Steve Spagnuolo encouraged his team to be disappointed about the loss and let that disappointment drive them.
"Coach talked about being disappointed. New Orleans was a great team and we know they have a lot of talent. But we're at a point now as a team where we feel we can compete with those type of teams. We were just disappointed in the outcome of the game, but we continue to keep our heads up."
To watch Steven talk more with Rams Gab about the season, being the hunted rather than the hunter, the way he likes to run and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, click here.
On Sunday, S-Jax was also disappointed in himself. On his first carry of the day, No 39 rumbled for a huge 20-yard gain, but at the end of his run, he had the ball knocked loose and the Saints recovered, leading to their second score of the game.
"We just played bad football," SJ39 told the Post-Dispatch. "They're a very talented team. You can't take anything away from them. They're the defending champs. But we just could not get from behind the eight-ball."
But Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch crunched the numbers and wrote that Steven has nothing to be ashamed of.
"Steven Jackson shouldn't have lost a fumble on the Rams' first series. But he hadn't fumbled the football to the other side in 562 touches — a remarkable streak of reliable ball security. So yeah, Jackson finally lost a fumble. He's human. What are you going to say to him? You think he wanted to fumble? Jackson takes great care of the football. And in recent weeks he's been doing it with one hand, because of the broken finger on his left hand. I think one lousy fumble is understandable."
Meanwhile Steven's huge day reminded Tevin of Turf Show Times that S-Jax is still the best player on the Rams' offense:
"He had a great all-around game and the most memorable play that I saw a Ram player make this season was when Sam Bradford fumbled the ball and Steven Jackson picked it up to stop the Saints from scooping and scoring. Jackson finished the game with 16 rushes 96 yards and 4 catches for 36 yards. The only negative to Jackson's game was the fact that he fumbled on what looked like a promising drive. If the Rams had kept the score closer than Jackson probably would have had a career game."
After nearly a month, the Rams will be back playing on their home turf this Sunday, but that doesn't mean the road to the postseason gets any easier.
St. Louis' in-state rivals, the AFC-West leading Kansas City Chiefs, come to the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday looking to extend their own playoff hopes. SJ39 knows the Rams will have to be ready for a battle.
"We have a three-game stretch coming up that's very important," Steven told Rams Gab. "If we want to make it to the playoffs, it's starts a little sooner for us than most teams. We just have to continue to be consistent and work hard."
Following their game with Kansas City, the Rams will finish the season with back-to-back divisional games against the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, the two teams chasing them for the division crown.
But first it's the Chiefs and the Battle for the Governor's Cup. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:15 CST and the game can be seen on CBS.
- Saints are too much for Rams (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 13, 2010)
- Rams' loss hardly a surprise (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 13, 2010)
- Rams Report Card (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 13, 2010)
- Disappointed Jackson tops 1,000 yards (Post-Dispatch, December 13, 2010)
- Monday Morning Backup QB (Post-Dispatch, December 13, 2010)
- Nike Football Summit: Interview w/Steven Jackson (Rams Gab, Dec. 14, 2010)
- Rams remain tied for NFC West (Belleville News-Democrat, Dec. 13, 2010)
- What we learned about the Rams (Turf Show Times, December 13, 2010)
- NFL on Fox: Steven Jackson Bonus (FOX Sports, December 12, 2010)