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Thread: Jackson Makes Cowboys Pay
Jackson Makes Cowboys Pay
Sunday, October 19, 2008
By Nick Wagoner
The day was April 24, 2005 and for Steven Jackson it was the day he was supposed to become the first running back taken in the NFL Draft.
When exactly he was supposed to be taken was uncertain but he certainly wasn’t supposed to be taken anytime after the Dallas Cowboys’ scheduled 22nd pick in the draft.
Much to his surprise and chagrin, the running back-needy Cowboys traded out of that spot with Buffalo and used a second-round pick on Julius Jones.
Although plenty of teams passed on Jackson before the Rams made him the 24th pick, Jackson is still irritated by Dallas’ decision.
“It was definitely added motivation all week,” Jackson said. “The two previous times we’ve played Dallas I have been injured and coming into this game it was one of those things where you have got to make them pay. You have got to make everybody pay but especially a team like that.
A sly grin creeping across his face, Jackson added “It was fun.”
Jackson’s irritation was on full display Sunday as he ran over, around and through Dallas’ seventh-ranked run defense.
When all was said and done, Jackson had ripped off 160 yards on 25 carries with touchdown runs of 8, 1 and 56 yards.
The 56-yard jaunt in the third quarter opened up a 31-7 lead and effectively put the Cowboys to bed for the evening.
While Jackson’s outburst came as a surprise to many considering Dallas’ previous success stopping the run, Jackson and the Rams had a strong feeling all week that they could run on the Cowboys.
Dallas’ base 3-4 defensive scheme is predicated on their talented three down linemen creating havoc and allowing the four linebackers to fill the gaps and bring Jackson down.
In watching the game film during the week, the Rams saw that Dallas had a tendency to be too aggressive with their run blitzes, often pushing up the field and leaving some soft spots on the outside.
“We thought we could take advantage of their aggressiveness when they try to get upfield so we thought we could really take advantage in the running game, getting up the field really fast, inside zone, fast hitting isolation plays, things like that,” Jackson said. “We were able to take advantage of it.”
Boy, were they. Jackson’s three-touchdown effort was his first opportunity to ‘roll the dice’ – his patented touchdown celebration – that many time since Dec. 31, 2006 against Minnesota.
None of those runs were sweeter than the 56-yard jaunt that drove the final nail into the Dallas coffin.
On second-and-3 from the Rams 44, the Rams came out of the huddle with an unbalanced line. Left tackle Adam Goldberg lined up next to right tackle Alex Barron. Earlier in the game, the Rams did something similar with Goldberg but he went in motion to get to the right side.
This time, the Rams rushed to the line and quick snapped before Dallas could get situated.
Jackson burst off the right edge, made one tackler miss and got a seal block from receiver Torry Holt as he darted into the end zone for his third score of the game.
“People underestimate his speed so he outruns those angles on that one stretch play that we had to their sideline,” Goldberg said. “As soon as he hit that edge and squared his shoulders, it seemed like the whole offensive line knew he was gone. It ended up working out. It’s nice when your nuisance plays pop big like that.”
Of course, Dallas was caught in another run blitz and Jackson took advantage.
“They knew we wanted to run inside and pound away at them so coming into that series we thought they would run blitz up the middle and we would run to the edge and take advantage of them blitzing,” Jackson said. “It was the perfect play at the perfect time.”
It didn’t hurt Jackson’s cause that the Rams wasted no time loosening up the Dallas defense.
On the first series, Jackson carried twice for 3 yards against a Dallas defense employing an eight-man box.
When Marc Bulger hit rookie Donnie Avery for a 42-yard touchdown over the top, the Cowboys suddenly had to retreat their safeties, allowing Jackson a better box to run against.
“It opens everything up,” Bulger said. “Throwing the ball down the field gets your corners off and it gets the linebackers out there and makes the play a little more defense rather than just constantly attacking us.”
The news wasn’t all good for Jackson on Sunday though. In the fourth quarter, coach Jim Haslett was one play away from removing Jackson from the game when Jackson pulled his left quadriceps on a 1-yard carry.
Jackson appeared to be moving and walking well after the game but he is scheduled for an MRI on Monday to ensure there’s nothing serious.
“It’s just a little bruise,” Jackson said. “We are going to do some more tests and have an MRI in the morning just to make sure. It’s a little tight but I am able to walk and able to bend it so that’s a good sign they said.”
Having a healthy Jackson will clearly be a key again next week against another talented defense in New England.
Six games into the season, it’s safe to say Jackson is back running at a Pro Bowl level.
“Watching the film on those guys we really felt that their body language as a defense, if you jump on them then you could take them out of their game; they are a defense that wants to swarm to the ball and we really just wanted to kill their morale,” Jackson said. “They are a very talented team but if you jump on them then we felt we could put them away.”
And that’s just what Jackson and Co. did to the team that could have had his services.
Re: Jackson Makes Cowboys Pay
A little disheartening that he never mentioned he was glad to be drafted by the Rams. Oh well, I'll take vengeful days like these any way I can get them.
By RamWraith in forum RAM TALKReplies: 1Last Post: -09-08-2008, 08:23 AM
By RamWraith in forum RAM TALKReplies: 1Last Post: -12-09-2006, 07:01 AM
By RamWraith in forum RAM TALKReplies: 0Last Post: -08-08-2006, 08:05 AM
By DJRamFan in forum OTHER SPORTSReplies: 0Last Post: -07-12-2004, 08:13 PM
By thoey in forum RAM TALKReplies: 1Last Post: -07-08-2004, 04:45 PM