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Pointing fingers and finding goats in the wake of the St. Louis Rams' last minute 17-18 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is much easier than recognizing the stand out play of someone on the losing side of things.
Nevertheless, a few players stood out for the Rams, doing whatever they could to pick up the team on their back and carry the team to a win. Chris Long and James Laurinaitis led a defense that, though not without fault, did manage to limit the Buccaneers to just 18 points. CB Ron Bartell, playing with an injured shoulder and a bruised thigh that saw Kevin Dockery starting in his place, still managed to swarm opposing receivers.
But the real standout performance for the Rams came from a familiar source, someone who has been a bright spot for fans and the team through the last few insufferable seasons. It's fitting that Steven Jackson became the franchise's all-time leading rushing in this game, an ugly loss that saw an inept offensive performance, the same kind of thing we've been seeing through the past three seasons, with SJ39 a force of one.
Fortunately, for the Rams and their fans, this team is capable of playing better than they did this week. And Steven Jackson has also become the kind of player that will hold his teammates accountable in that regard. His legs continue to impress, but Jackson's leadership role might be his most essential contribution to a young team needed to dig deep within themselves to find out how to win games.