By HAL PILGER
STAFF WRITER
Published Thursday, December 14, 2006


The highs have been few and far between for the St. Louis Rams during this season of rapidly mounting lows, but running back STEVEN JACKSON has been among a handful of true highlights all season.


In Monday night's 42-27 loss to the Chicago Bears on national television, Jackson rushed for 81 yards on 18 carries and caught 10 passes for 58 yards to total 139 yards of offense. He scored two touchdowns - one on the ground and one through the air.

All of that was accomplished despite Jackson missing part of the second half with leg cramps.

By the end of the night, Jackson had established a career high for rushing yards at 1,105 and for receptions with 82. His 680 receiving yards this fall have surpassed AMP LEE for fifth most by a Rams running back in a season. And Jackson's 1,789 total yards from scrimmage leads the NFC.

But Jackson insists he would swap all of those gaudy numbers for a winning record.

"It means something, but at the same time you start looking at yourself and saying, 'What can I do more to help?' " Jackson said. "I'm being a competitor, and I want to win. I'd trade it all back if we were 10-2 or whatever the record should be.

"It's just very disappointing," he added. "My offensive line has created some big holes for me, but at the same time, it's not producing anything. Hopefully we can turn this around. We still have three weeks to play, and there's no need to throw in the towel. We need to start building for something, and we need to do it now."

Jackson suggested the team is at the stage where it must, in effect, walk before it can run.

"If anyone brings up playoffs, I try to correct them," Jackson said. "That's the problem. We've been looking at the playoffs all week. You're not going to get into the playoffs until you start winning.

"If we can run the table and go 3-0 it would be great, but if not, somebody needs to start stepping up and making plays and not waiting for somebody else to make plays."


RAMS RIDDLE: Who is the last Rams running back besides Jackson or MARSHALL FAULK to rush for 100 yards in a game? Answer below.
GOIN' TO K.C.: The Rams were able to get third receiver KEVIN CURTIS more involved in the offense on Monday night. Against the Bears, Curtis caught four passes for a game-high 77 yards, including a season-long 42-yarder from MARC BULGER to set up the Rams first touchdown of the game.

A couple weeks earlier against San Francisco, Curtis caught three passes for 41 yards, including a 5-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with 27 seconds left in the game.


BULGER-HOLT CONNECTION: Two of Bulger's three touchdown passes against the Bears went to wide receiver TORRY HOLT, giving the duo 38 touchdowns together - second best among active NFL combinations.
But they won't be catching the leaders any time soon. Quarterback PEYTON MANNING and receiver MARVIN HARRISON of the Indianapolis Colts have combined for 100 touchdown passes.

With five more receptions, Holt will reach 700 and can become the second-fastest in NFL history to reach that plateau behind Harrison, who did it in 114 games. Sunday's game at Oakland will be Holt's 124th game.


STILL STREAKING: Franchise record-holder JEFF WILKINS has kicked 335 consecutive points after touchdown since 1999, including three on Monday night, when a botched center snap prevented a fourth but did not interfere with his consecutive PAT streak because no attempt to kick was made.
Wilkins is second in the NFC and tied for third in the NFL in scoring with 105 points, going 24-for-24 on PATs and 27-for-31 on field goals, and has scored 1,100 points as a member of the Rams. He is closing in on NFL record-holder JASON ELAM, who made 371 consecutive PATs from 1993 to 2002.


RIDDLE RESULT: The last Rams running back not named Jackson or Faulk to rush for 100 yards was TRUNG CANIDATE, who rushed 16 times for 145 yards and a touchdown against Carolina on Nov. 11, 2001. (Faulk had 183 yards and two TDs on 15 carries in that 48-14 Rams win.)

END QUOTE: Defensive tackle LA'ROI GLOVER, assessing the Rams current plight: "It is just one of those deals where you have to play better."