On Sunday many watched as Adrian Peterson carved up the St. Louis Rams for 212 yards. The Minnesota running back is chasing a 2000-yard season and Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record, but you all knew that. What many people didn’t realize is what the running back on the other side of the ball was doing.
St. Louis running back Steven Jackson came into Sunday’s game 71 yards shy of 10,000 for his career. Late in the third quarter Jackson took a handoff from quarterback Sam Bradford and barreled through defenders for a 9-yard gain. It was a signature Steven Jackson run. Something Rams fans have seen time and time again.
But this wasn’t just another run. This one was special. This run meant something not only to Jackson but also to all the home fans watching in the Edward Jones Dome. That 9-yard run put Steven Jackson at 10,002 yards for his career and gave Rams fans a reason to stand up and cheer for the first time in a long time. There hasn’t been much to cheer about in St. Louis since the days of the “Greatest Show on Turf”.
Yet, on Sunday those fans witnessed history. SJ became the 27th player in NFL history to rush for over 10,000 yards. It took him 129 games and 2,365 carries to do so, but he did it.
Jackson has had to work hard for those 10,000 yards. During his tenure in St. Louis he has never had the best blocking or a decent enough passing attack to keep 8 or 9 guys out of the box. So he would put his head down and fight for every yard. Despite carrying a heavy workload SJ has only missed 15 games in 9 seasons.
Back in 2004, Steven Jackson was drafted by the Rams in the 1st round. In his rookie season St. Louis finished 8-8 and took a Wild Card spot. That season was the one and only season that Jackson went to the playoffs. Of his 10,002 yards only 68 of those have come in the postseason. Furthermore, Jackson has never been on a team with a winning record. Nine years and not even one 9-7 season.
Jackson has spent his entire career with the lowly Rams and hasn’t played in many meaningful games; however, he has never once complained, spoke out, or demanded a trade like many would have. He has and always will put the team before himself. That is what makes him a class act. SJ’s ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl and I sure hope he does get to win one, because if anyone deserves it, it’s Steven Jackson.
And Jackson may not be done hitting milestones yet this season. SJ needs only 91 more yards over the last 2 games to reach 1000 yards for the 8th consecutive season. Something only 5 other running backs have done. Those 5 backs are Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, Thurman Thomas and LaDainian Tomlinson. Pretty good company if you ask me. Eric Dickerson put up 1000 yards in 7 consecutive seasons, which means Adrian Peterson isn’t the only back trying to pass Dickerson in the record books this year.