Yards (and losses) pile up for Rams' Stephen Jackson
Steven Jackson hasn't been part of a winning team since his was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2004.
In fact, he's been a part of some of the worst teams in NFL history, including this year's group that fell to 2-13 with a 27-0 loss Saturday to the Steelers at Heinz Field.
However, there is no correlation between the Rams' record and how Jackson produces on the football field.
"On a level of admiration on a scale of 1 to 10, I'm at a 15," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "I don't know how else to say it. He is a very passionate football player. He is passionate about how he plays, the way he plays. He's very passionate about the team he plays for and the guys he plays for."
Jackson rushed for 103 yards on 24 carries yesterday and surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the seventh consecutive season with a 3-yard run in the second quarter.
Only six other running backs in NFL history have rushed for 1,000 yards in seven consecutive seasons, and none on a team that has lost as much as the Rams.
"It's a huge achievement," Jackson said. "It is something that you dream about, something that you are amazed of."
Jackson has 1,069 rushing yards this season despite missing the better part of two games with a leg injury. His 103 yards against the Steelers was the 31st 100-yard game of his career and just the seventh the Steelers have allowed over the past seven years.
"You go over 100 yards against that defense, that's saying something," Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens said.
Jackson is the franchise leader in rushing with 9,107 yards - or nearly 2,000 more than Eric Dickerson.
"It is unfortunate that we do these kinds of things against a team that is so impressive and you come out with a loss," Jackson said. "You play for wins and losses."
Wins have been few and far between for Jackson. The Rams have won only 29 games since Jackson became a full-time starter in 2005.
"I remember my rookie season when we went 1-15," linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "He was a guy that I looked at to see how to battle through it like a professional."
Jackson isn't looking to get out of St. Louis even though he could void his contract after the season if he reaches a pair of escalator clauses next week against San Francisco. One of those clauses isn't likely to happen - he would need 198 yards receiving.
It doesn't matter to Jackson.
"It is probably one of those questions that I probably will reflect on after my career is over," Jackson said about going to a winning organization. "But I love St. Louis."
Steelers vs. St. Louis Rams December 24, 2011
The Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the St. Louis Rams 27-0 at Heinz field, Saturday, December 24, 2011.
A list of the seven NFL running backs to amass at least seven consecutive seasons of 1,000 yards rushing
Emmitt Smith : 11 years; Hall of Fame member
Barry Sanders : 10 years; Hall of Fame member
Curtis Martin : 10 years; Retired, HOF eligible
Thurman Thomas : 8 years, Hall of Fame member
LaDainian Tomlinson : 8 years, active
Eric Dickerson : 7 years, Hall of Fame member
Steven Jackson : 7 years, active