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RamView: Week 4 – Running Backs

Observing Steven Jackson during warmups, I was pretty glad I had benched him in my fantasy league. He moved around gingerly and never broke into more than a trot. At most I figured he’d be a decoy. Some decoy. Jackson surged through the Seattle defense for 124 total yards (22-70 rushing), and he left a lot of yards on the field. He missed several big holes simply because his groin injury didn’t allow him to cut back to them. Not that he needed to. It took him all of four touches to break a big play, a 16-yard burst off the left side that kicked the Rams’ first TD drive into gear. In the 2nd half, he cruised for 49 yards on a beautifully-blocked screen pass to set up the Rams’ 2nd TD. He set up the Rams’ final score in the 4th with a 15-yard run behind an absolute wall on the left side. Jackson had rendezvoused with history earlier in the 4th when he became the 2nd-leading rusher in team history on another 15-yard run. He got a standing ovation for that, another when he came off the field a couple of plays later, and he earned every bit of it. He made a real statement of leadership to this young team by taking the field for this big game despite not being close to 100% healthy, and reinforced it over and over with repeated slams into a Seahawk d-line he wore thin, and occasionally gave piggyback rides to. Jackson’s best play of the game didn’t even count. On a 4th-and-2 wiped out by a penalty, he was stopped in the backfield, but when his wheels spun, like a good 4WD crossing a muddy road, he dropped a gear and plowed through anyway, for a 5-yard gain. You didn’t need to take anatomy class to see today that an injured groin has nothing to do with an athlete’s heart. The stadium scoreboard played a tribute to Jack Youngblood at one point, and though Jackson’s performance today wasn’t as courageous/crazy as Jack playing with a broken leg 30 years ago, it’s still apropos to invoke. Like Jack, Steven Jackson made a statement today, and made team history.

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