Steven Jackson trade rumors went nowhere last month. This month, the St. Louis Rams veteran running back was going all kinds places on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams might have had a difficult time even tying the game against the San Francisco 49ers without a big day from Jackson.
It was head coach Jeff Fisher that put the trade talk back in the bottle last month.
Jackson's role in the offense had been limited this season. Rookie Daryl Richardson's emergence gave the Rams a viable time-share at the position, and offensive coordinator Brian Scottenheimer has been passing the ball with more frequency than many expected this season.
In lopsided loss to the Patriots in Week 8, Jackson ran the ball just 7 times, a season low. He had a total of 24 carries in the two games prior to that, 12 attempts in each one. All three of those games were losses. Jackson's highest single-game total of the season for carries was 21 in the opening week against Detroit.
The touchdown was only Jackson's second of the season. He last scored against the Packers. Jackson's 101-yard rushing total was the first time since Week 15 last year when he topped the century mark. He did four times last year.
Disappointment colored Jackson's postgame remarks. He was less concerned with the statistics.
"This is the first time I have ever tied in my career and it is a huge letdown. Guys put it all on the line today and for us to end in a tie is disappointing," Jackson said after the game.
The Rams became the first team to finish a game tied since 2008. WIn or lose, mistakes by the Rams cost the team more than a few shots at the win. Referees called two penalties on the Rams in overtime, including an call in the extra frame that nixed an 80-yard gain by Danny Amendola on a beautiful pass from Sam Bradford.
Without Jackson's leadership, the Rams might not have made it far enough to leave with a draw. The 29-year old spurred his team on with actions and words. Cameras caught him rallying his players after a costly Isaiah Pead fumble. Jackson reflected on the team's commitment to running the ball after that incident.
"We knew all week that coming in that we were facing a very tough team, with a very stout defense, probably the best defense that we will face," he said. "We wanted to be in this position where we could run the ball, control the line of scrimmage, make plays on the outside and we didn't think that we were going into a cake walk. I just reminded them of that. We didn't need to get down on ourselves but this is exactly the game that we prepared for all week."
Fisher praised Jackson for his passion
"Steve is Steve," the coach explained. "You saw the way he played, the way he ran, the passion that he plays with. Like I've said, I enjoy standing on the sideline watching him play.
"I'm glad he's on our team," Fisher concluded.