The Rams-Seahawks Monday Night Football battle reminded me of two beliefs I have come to accept with this Rams team. 1: The Rams are really, really bad. And not bad like a play or two away from winning a game. No bad like all-time reference type bad. 2: The Rams are downright wasting Steven Jackson.
Steven Jackson did is his part, he always does. Jackson put up 123 yards rushing and receiving on 23 touches. He even scored a touchdown granted at that point the game was out of reach. Why is offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels so reluctant to call Jackson’s number in those crucial goal line situations? Steven’s level of frustration looks to have reached an all-time high -- and rightfully so.
The problem is the coaching staff is not doing theirs. On two goal line possessions the Rams ran 9 plays, excluding Josh Brown’s field goal. Steven Jackson touched the ball twice. TWICE. That’s right, offensive mastermind Josh McDaniels and renowned decision maker Steve Spagnuolo thought best to go away from their 240 lb beast of an ALL-Pro running back. It took Jackson yelling at the sideline in the 4th quarter for them to call the play for him.
No, instead the plays went like this:
- 1st & Goal from the 1 yard line: Direct snap to Steven Jackson for no gain. Tacked by Ram OT Adam Goldberg
- 2nd & Goal from the 1 yard line: Sam Bradford roles to his right on the bootleg and is forced to throw it away. 10 yard penalty for Intentional Grounding on Bradford.
- 3rd & Goal from the 11 yard line: Fade pass to Brandon Lloyd sails out of the back of the end zone
- 1st & Goal from the 1 yard line: Cadillac Williams runs left for no gain
- 2nd & Goal from the 1 yard line: Cadillac Williams up the middle for no gain
- 3rd & Goal from the 1 yard line: Bradford’s pass incomplete short right to Danario Alexander. A soft taunting penalty on Seattle gives the Rams another 1st down. Side note: ball hit DX in the hands and should have been caught.
- 1st & Goal from the ½ yard line: Bradford’s pass incomplete short left to Brandon Lloyd
- 2nd & Goal from the ½ yard line: Bradford’s pass incomplete short right to Alexander.
- 3rd & Goal from the ½ yard line: Steven Jackson off right tackle for a touchdown
These two series, the second one especially, are a microcosm of Jackson's time with the Rams. A valuable resource that when used properly produces results. Unfortunately the individual is not greater than the sum of its parts. As good as Steven Jackson is and has been in his time with St. Louis he will more than likely be remembered as the Ernie Banks of football. If only the Rams losing ways were as lovable as those Cubbies.
Steven Jackson and the Rams last made the playoffs in 2004, his first year in the league. Since then it appears they have been going in different directions.
On that last first and goal from the 1 opportunity, the Rams shifted into SHOTGUN, with Steven on the sideline. The ball was, at most, eight inches away. You could hear the shock, the disbelief in the voices of Steve Savard and D'Marco Farr on the radio broadcast. These guys have seen some bad football in their time, and this rated way up there.