For almost a decade, Rams running back
Taking his cues from Rams legends like Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, Jackson made it a point of pride from early in his nine-year career to be the guy his team could count on week in and week out, no matter the situation.
On Sunday, that consistency reached a new, lofty standard as Jackson became the 27th player in NFL history to reach the 10,000-yard mark.
“That’s really one of the only highlights of the day today,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “Just for me personally and for the fans that were here, to be able to see that and witness that it’s a tremendous accomplishment. He’s been a tremendous person to this franchise and to this city. He’s been a great player.”
It was the next in a long line of accomplishments for Jackson that just seem to pile up as he gets later into his career. This number fell when Jackson took a handoff up the middle with 1:47 to go in the third quarter and darted for 9 yards.
“It just means that I’ve been blessed to be consistent, to be durable in this league and to go out there and just be effective when I had a chance,” Jackson said.
Jackson finished the day with 73 yards on 13 carries and added another 73 yards on eight catches. The eight catches left him one shy of Tom Fears for fifth place on the team’s all time reception list with 399 grabs.
But on this day, it was the magic 10,000 mark that drew the praise of teammates and opponents alike.
“10,000 yards is a great achievement,” Kendricks said. “You can’t say anymore about him. He’s a great guy, a great leader, a great running back. He’s been leading this team for a long time and he’s been doing what he needs to do on the field. Props to him.”
After the run, Jackson’s teammates weren’t the only ones who took a moment to congratulate him. A number of Vikings players tapped him on the helmet or paid their respects with words to Jackson as the moment was recognized in the Edward Jones Dome.
“When you have your peers give you that respect and acknowledge your accomplishment, it means a lot,” Jackson said. “I’ve played against these guys before and a number of those guys I know just through the NFL, but to have those guys acknowledge my accomplishment, it means a lot.”
Heading into next week’s game against Tampa Bay, Jackson is just 91 yards short of his eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season, a total that would make him just one of six players in league history to reach that mark eight years in a row.
Making the achievement more special to Jackson was getting to do it in front of the home fans. He was disappointed in 2010 when he broke the franchise rushing record in, coincidentally, Tampa Bay and had hoped to give the home fans one more magic number to witness.
With a decision to be made on his contract after the season, Jackson said he didn’t think about the possibility that Sunday’s game in the Edward Jones Dome could be his last as a member of the Rams.
“I have two games for sure,” Jackson said. “We have a decision to make in the offseason, but I will seek the counsel of some people that I have great respect for and I don’t think about that. I still have two games to do my job and to do it at the way that I play; I need to be completely focused on that.”
In the more immediate present, Jackson and his teammates were disappointed not to be able to achieve Sunday’s milestone in a winning cause.
“That’s a heck of an achievement,” quarterback
Jackson said that though he was disappointed not to hit the half-marathon mark in a winning performance, he wouldn’t let that lose sight of what everything means on a much bigger scale.
“I never forget that regardless if the praise comes, that I have had some great success,” Jackson said. “I’ve been blessed. I have an amazing support group in my family, in my mom and dad, and I never forget that I was a young guy just dreaming to be a part of the NFL. When you hope and wish, you never know if it’s going to come true, but I’ve consistently been able to just show up. Show up and be a blue (collar), hard-working kind of guy.”
DAHL HURT: For the better part of the 2012 season, the Rams have been quite fortunate when it comes to serious, season-ending types of injuries. The ailments they have had have generally been the type that allow for a return.
With two games to go, it seems the Rams have suffered a serious blow on the injury front that will send on of their most consistently durable linemen to the sidelines for the remainder of the season.
“We did have a significant injury,” Fisher said. “It looks like we lost Harvey (Dahl) for the remainder of the season. We’re suspecting he has a torn bicep, probably will require surgery. So, we’ll take a look at one of the younger guys up front at the guard spot.”
AMENDOLA RETURNS: Receiver
During the past week, though, Amendola had slowly but surely worked his way back into the mix even going so far as to practice on a full basis on Friday and was listed as probable going into the game.
Sure enough, Amendola made his return to the lineup on Sunday against the Vikings.
“The foot felt pretty good for the most part,” Amendola said. “I got it warmed up early and it just felt pretty good.”
While Amendola didn’t put up huge numbers, it was clear the foot felt good enough for him to make some big plays to help the Rams fight back into the game late.
Amendola finished with six catches for 58 yards and a touchdown and had a catch for a 2-point conversion.
After the touchdown, Amendola spiked the ball and inadvertently hit a nearby usher in the face with the ball.
“Yeah, I felt pretty bad about that afterwards,” Amendola said. “I didn’t see him there, obviously, when I was spiking it. But I appreciate his help.”
Amendola promptly signed the ball and sent it over to the usher after realizing what had happened.