The St. Louis Rams embark on their final road trip of the season this weekend when they head to Seattle to take on the playoff-bound Seahawks and there is plenty of unfinished business there for Steven Jackson and his teammates.
At stake on Sunday is the possibility of a winning season—which would be a first in Steven’s nine-year pro career—and an undefeated record for the Rams in the NFC West. Seattle is a heavy favorite in Sunday’s contest as the home team at CenturyLink Field, a notoriously difficult place to play for visiting teams. But the Rams are full of confidence and have taken aim at the franchise’s first winning season since 2003.
St. Louis has steadily improved over the course of the year and are winners of four of their last five games. Under veteran leadership of players like Steven, the young Rams have matured and aren’t the same team they were early in the season.
A handful of missed opportunities have spelled the narrow difference between a losing season and playoff certainty, but St. Louis has learned from their experiences this season and one last win would be an outstanding momentum builder for the franchise’s future.
“We look at it, we’re two different teams now. Beginning of the year, we couldn’t win on the road. We were a very young team who didn’t close games out,” S-Jax said. “I think starting with the first San Francisco game going to where we are now, we’ve learned how to close out some tough games, we’ve learned how to win on the road. So those things we couldn’t do at the beginning of the season, we’re doing now. And it shows you the progress that we’ve made.”
Steven has left quite an imprint on the renovations. Even with a slew of questions and opportunities looming in the offseason, Steven’s focus remains honed in on the individual tasks at hand on Sunday afternoon. SJ39 refuses to entertain the notion this could be his last game in a Rams uniform. He will gladly let the future take care of itself when the time is right. At the moment, there is still much work at hand.
“Only emotion I’m thinking about is going undefeated [within the division] and secondly, my first possible winning season. Those are the only two things I’m thinking about, and those are team things, so that’s what’s most important.”
Though his focus has been on team goals from the beginning, Steven has also put together another exceptional individual season. No. 39 has amassed 990 yards on 246 carries, including four touchdowns. Along the way he’s made history, becoming the 27th player in NFL history to pass the 10,000-yard mark.
Another milestone is well within reach as SJ39 is just 10 yards shy of becoming only the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in eight straight seasons. But against Seattle’s notoriously stingy defense, Steven knows 10 yards won’t come gift-wrapped and he isn’t focused at all on making sure he gets to that mark.
“I just go out there and play I go out there and run hard and trust my run reads, trust what I see and make sure I’m explosive when I see it,” he said. “We have explosive runs that are considered 12 yards or more. And when you get a 12-yard run in this league, that’s a big deal, so 10 yards—it sounds easy but it’s going to be really tough, especially in that environment, against that defense.”
In Steven’s last contest against the Seahawks, way back in Week 4, SJ managed 55 tough yards on 18 attempts, including a 23-yard rumble. His contributions helped the Rams to a 19-13 win over Seattle at the Edward Jones Dome.
Establishing the ground game against the Seahawks on Sunday won’t be simple. Seattle has been tough against the run all season. They’ve allowed only 104.7 yards a game, and are tied for fifth in the league with just eight rushing touchdowns permitted on the season. Add into the mix the notable environment of CenturyLink Field, and this season finale will be full of fireworks.
Steven has played seven career games in Seattle and the Rams haven’t won there since his rookie year, so he knows just how hard it is to leave Seattle with a victory.
“Very hostile. It’s almost like a college atmosphere and it’s a fun atmosphere to play in,” he said. “Playing there the last game of the season, we did this before. It’s a lot of fun. It makes you want to go in there and quiet the noise. You want to go up there and slow them down because they’re an explosive team, especially right now.”
Like any great competitor, Steven thrives on being able to silence the opposition and their fans. You can rest assured, the louder the noise the harder Steven is going to hit, run, and play.
Sunday’s kickoff is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. CST and the game can be seen on FOX.
- Jackson heads into finale amid questions (Fox Sports, December 27, 2012)
- Jackson won’t linger when it’s time to retire (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 28, 2012)
- Rams Finding More Redzone Success (StLouisRams.com, December 27, 2012)
- Steven Jackson Press Conference (StLouisRams.com, December 27, 2012)