Steven Jackson continued to show a nose for the end zone on Sunday, finding paydirt for the third time in four starts this season.
But Steven’s second quarter scoring run was the only touchdown the Rams could mount against the Dallas Cowboys, and St. Louis fell for the sixth straight time, 34-7. SJ39 finished with 70 yards rushing on just 18 carries, the best production of any running back who has faced Dallas this year.
“We knew they were going to try to run the ball,” Dallas safety Abram Elam said. “They have one of the best backs in the league.”
Steven also admitted that Dallas probably knew what was coming from him, but he tried to give it everything he had.
“I’m pretty sure their game plan was going to be to stop the run,” he said. “They’re number one against the run and they brought more pressure than they have all season. They’re not typically a [run] blitz team. This game they called ‘zero’ blitzes quite a bit and made for some difficult looks for us.”
He also caught four passes on the day.
Whatever personal success Steven had Sunday provided little consolation after another defeat.
“It’s another game where we were just not able to sustain long drives,” Steven said after the defeat. “When we did sustain drives, we weren’t coming up with points. It’s hard to have long drives with no points and/or turnovers. For some reason it keeps being the same old story.”
The Rams’ longest sustained drive of the day came on the effort of No. 39 and the offensive line. After the Cowboys had taken a 14-0 second quarter lead, St. Louis started at its own 15-yard line. Passes from AJ Feeley to Brandon Lloyd and Michael Hoomanawanui got the Rams across midfield. Steven took them the rest of the way, gashing the Cowboys defense with a 40-yard burst up the middle on a delayed handoff, then scoring on a short run from the Dallas six as shown below:
The touchdown cut the Rams’ deficit in half, but that would be the last scoring play for St. Louis. The Cowboys tacked on a field goal before halftime to make it 17-7, then added 17 more second half points.
“I think a couple times we had a drought as an offense, three or four drives, three and out,” SJ39 said. “We couldn’t get any rhythm, leaving the defense on the field entirely too long.”
Showing the determination that has characterized his entire career, S-Jax helped push the Rams downfield late in the game, looking for another score. But after No. 39 broke a 15-yard run to the Dallas two, St. Louis went back to the air for three straight incompletions.
When St. Louis gave Steven the ball on fourth and 1, Dallas was ready for him.
“We definitely took a step back [today] in all areas of the game,” SJ39 said of the loss. “As an offense, we lacked execution all day. At the times we did execute, you saw explosive plays. It’s just very frustrating that we keep putting ourselves in positions that are unfavorable and not helping the team out.”
SCARE FOR SMITH
In the second quarter of the game, the Rams got a big scare, when offensive lineman Jason Smith fell headfirst into the leg of a teammate, forcing his neck to recoil.
Smith was down on the field for several minutes and the medical staff had to remove the cage from his helmet before immobilizing his head and carting him off the field.
Smith was diagnosed with a concussion and, despite the scare, he was well enough to accompany the team back to St. Louis on Sunday night. S-Jax, who is close with Smith, spoke of the frightening situation after the game.
“It was very, very emotional,” Steven said. “He’s a good friend; I think the world of him. Whenever you see a teammate or any player carted off the field in that manner, you can’t help but have your heart go out to him and his family. You just pray for the best.”
Sunday’s loss dropped the Rams’ record to 0-6 for the second time in three seasons, but Steven told the media after the game that he hasn’t lost faith in his team.
“I’m a man of faith and I believe, in football or life, that situations will not be easy,” he said. “It defines the character of a man. I continue to try to show and lead by example to do that. For whatever reason, god has put me in this position and I will not falter and I won’t stray from him.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Rams this coming Sunday: they face the 5-2 New Orleans Saints at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Steven said the character of this team will make itself known in the way the Rams respond to adversity.
“You don’t want to be 0-6. You don’t want to continue to put yourself in situations where you’re just in a ditch as far as making the playoffs is concerned,” he said. “But if you learn anything from the situation, it’s that you have to bear down and continue to lean on each other. This team, we can’t allow outside distractions to come. Unfortunately I’ve been through it too many times and this is where leaders, coaches and everyone have to come together…Everyone is going to be pretty critical of this team, but we know only we can turn this thing around and it starts with every individual making the decision that he wants to do the job better.”
Sunday’s kickoff is scheduled for Noon CDT. The game can be seen on FOX.
- Cowboys leave Rams in the dust (Belleville News-Democrat, October 24, 2011)
- Rams Fail to Stop Run, Score Points (Turf Show Times, October 23, 2011)
- Jackson puts the Rams on the board (SB Nation, October 23, 2011)
- Jackson accelerates for 40 (NFL.com, October 23, 2011)
- Rams-Cowboys-Jackson-TD (AP Video Review You Tube, October 23, 2011)
- OT Smith, DT Scott checked out at hospital (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 24, 2011)
- RB Steven Jackson Postgame Press Conference (StLouisRams.com, October 21, 2011)
- Rams at Cowboys Game Info (NFL.com, October 23, 2011)