In their first preseason game, the Rams first team offense did enough to convince Steven Jackson that progress was being made. Subsequent practices boosted that tout and in game two on Saturday, St. Louis offered tangible proof.
Steven carried seven times for 49 yards — an average of seven yards per carry — and the Rams’ first team offense built a 14-0 lead with scores on their first two drives. After playing the entire first quarter, SJ and the first teamers handed off to their backups and St. Louis cruised to a 31-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs to win the 2012 Governor’s Cup.
“We were very confident coming in based off the practices we had all week and we felt really good,” Steven said. “We wanted to come out and be explosive as an offense.”
The Rams opened the game with the ball and came out throwing it when Sam Bradford connected with Danny Amendola for a 35-yard gain on first down. SJ39 served as a decoy on the play and St. Louis took advantage of Kansas City’s eagerness to stop the run.
“We knew that KC would probably expect run, so we used the play-action pass and it was big-time by Sam and Danny hooking up,” SJ said. “Hopefully we can see a lot of that this season.”
The Rams didn’t stray too far from their running game though, as No. 39 followed the big passing play with back-to-back carries. He gained big yardage on the first one when he ran hard behind the left guard, found a crease up the middle and burst into the Kansas City secondary before being wrestled down at the 27 for a gain of 18 yards.
The second carry pushed the Rams forward four more yards and set the Rams up with 2nd & 6 at the KC 23. Bradford put St. Louis in the end zone on the next play when he connected with tight end Lance Kendricks for a 23-yard touchdown. The extra point made it 7-0, St. Louis’ first lead of the preseason.
“It felt really good to get our feet under us and get our confidence built up in what we’ve been doing in practice for the last two, three weeks,” S-Jax said. “We wanted to come out and get a quick start so we could get the running game and the passing game established.”
Just two plays into the ensuing Kansas City drive, Rams rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins forced KC’s Jonathan Baldwin to fumble and safety Crag Dahl fell on the loose ball to give St. Louis possession back at the Chiefs 31.
Given a second chance to score in the game’s opening minutes, the offense didn’t let it go by the wayside. Bradford again connected with Amendola on the first play, this time for 15 yards and a first down.
SJ moved the Rams to the 13 with a three-yard run and two plays later coach Jeff Fisher opted to go for the gusto on 4th & 2 from the 8. With the pressure on, Bradford found Amendola in the end zone to tack on six more points. After just nine offensive plays, the Rams had a 14-0 lead.
Kansas City failed to answer and the St. Louis starters remained in for one more series. A KC punt pinned them at their own nine, but Steven got the Rams out of danger immediately with a 14-yard run on first down.
He got three more touches totaling 10 yards, but the drive stalled forcing the Rams to punt for the first time.
That was it for the starters as they gave way to their reserves in the second quarter. But after 16 offensive plays producing 151 yards, the Rams had given a glimpse of what they’re capable of in 2012. Brian Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote that the most positive of the many great signs from the Rams offense came from SJ39 and Bradford:
“When the Pro Bowl tailback and the promising young quarterback were on the field, Jackson was a bull rumbling out of the backfield for 49 yards on only seven carries, and Bradford was poised as could be, completing six of nine passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Bradford operated Brian Schottenheimer’s version of the West Coast offense precisely the way it’s supposed to be run.”
Steven gave credit to his offensive line, a group that has been in a constant state of flux for the last few seasons and through this training camp. The Rams’ line still doesn’t have all the part it expects to have for the season — center Scott Wells remains out with a knee injury — but they did enough for S-Jax on Saturday, opening up hole after hole in the Kansas City defense.
“They were very aggressive,” SJ said of the Rams’ offensive line. “They won the line of scrimmage, the battle there. You always want to do that week in and week out. I thought they did a great job at the point of attack of opening some lanes for me to run through.”
But Shane Gray of Missouri Sports Magazine wrote that Steven deserves just as much credit for his own success and appears amped to put together another high-level season.
Running back Steven Jackson looked ready to roll for a second straight week, gaining 49 yards on seven carries. The three time Pro Bowler looks to be ready to contend for a fourth Pro Bowl berth this fall. After coming to camp some ten pounds lighter, Jackson looks to have a smoother gate, greater quickness and more explosiveness than he did a season ago.
The Rams head back out on the road for their third preseason game and will take on the Cowboys in Dallas on Saturday night.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT and the game can be seen on KTVI FOX 2.
- Steven Jackson on Win Over Chiefs “We were confident coming in.” (ESPN 101, August 18, 2012)
- Rams look much better against Chiefs (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 19, 2012)
- Rams’ Focus Unchanged (StLouisRams.com, August 19, 2012)
- Offensive Line Shows Improvement (StLouisRams.com, August 19, 2012)
- Rams Push Past Chiefs (StLouisRams.com, August 18, 2012)
- Mission accomplished in Rams’ convincing win (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 19, 2012)
- Steven Jackson Looks Great Again In Preseason Action (SB Nation St. Louis, August 18, 2012)
- Rams RB Steven Jackson Impresses Again (Turf Show Times, August 19, 2012)
- Rams Roll Over Chiefs, 31-17, To Claim The Governor’s Cup (Turf Show Times, August 18, 2012)
- 10 observations as the Rams clean up their mess (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 19, 2012)
- St. Louis Rams Come Out Smoking Against Chiefs To Win 2012 Governor’s Cup (Missouri Sports Magazine, August 19, 2012)