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Jackson on verge of seventh straight 1,000-yard season

Jackson on verge of seventh straight 1,000-yard season

December 21st, 2011 in News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson is on the verge of a milestone.

Just 34 more yards rushing, and he will become the seventh player in NFL history to gain 1,000 yards in seven or more consecutive seasons. Only Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, Thurman Thomas, Eric Dickerson and LaDainian Tomlinson have done it.

He's well aware of that elite club, and identified with Thomas as a kid because both had a single bar on the helmet.

"How much do I know about them? I have their trading cards," Jackson said.

If he gets there Saturday at Pittsburgh, it probably won't be off handoffs from Sam Bradford.

Bradford hasn't practiced the last two weeks and is likely to miss his second straight game and fourth overall with a high left ankle sprain, leaving newcomer Kellen Clemens a virtual lock to get the call against the Steelers. Jackson implied he might have a higher pain threshold, noting he played hurt without practicing at the end of the 2009 season with an injury that required surgery.

"I played with a herniated disk for six games," Jackson said. "I don't think I'm the right guy to ask about medical opinions on when to pull yourself out."

Bradford reiterated his desire Tuesday to play, if possible, instead of finishing the season on injured reserve. Jackson missed the Rams' Monday night loss to the Giants in Week 2, so he can relate to what the quarterback is going through.

"You feel helpless when you're watching the team and you can't play," Jackson said. "You don't feel a part of the team on that particular day, but I'm not the best person to ask for advice on when to play."

Jackson has rushed for 1,000 yards in every season except his rookie year in 2004 when he shared carries with Marshall Faulk, and he's the franchise's career rushing leader.

"It just means I've been able to play at high performance regardless of injury, record or whatever," Jackson said. "Just being someone that's consistent. I kind of lay my hat on it."

Jackson's rookie season was also the only year he's made it to the playoffs, so he's had to block out a lot of disappointment. The Rams (2-12) are set to pick at the top of the draft for the fourth time in five years and have the NFL's lowest-scoring team, scrounging for points even before three linemen went on injured reserve and Bradford got hurt.

Yards have been harder to come by lately for Jackson. After three straight 100-yard games in the middle of the season, he's totaled 259 yards with a 3.2-yard average the last five games.

He had just 19 yards on 10 carries at San Francisco in Week 12 as the Rams gave up on the run early in a 26-0 loss, and 42 yards with a 2.8-yard average in Week 10 at home against Seattle.

"Nah, no frustration," Jackson said. "The only thing that's frustrating is not winning."

Constant shuffling on the line hasn't helped. Harvey Dahl is the only player to start every game, the last five at right tackle after moving from right guard. Brian Mattison will be making his third straight start at right guard this week.

"I think the more they play together, just like any other group in football, the better they'll play together," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. "We've just got to keep giving it to him, and they've got to keep doing what they're doing up front."

Jackson didn't want to say the Steelers would be the best defense he's had to face, noting the Rams wind up against stingy San Francisco.