Thursday, January 4, 2007

By Duane Lewis
Director of New Media

Steven Jackson's four-touchdown game in the season finale at Minnesota last Sunday was a career-high for the third year running back from Oregon State. While it was the first four-score game for Jackson, they have become a staple of Rams' football since 1999.

From 1937 1998, there were just three four-touchdown games in Rams history, all turned in by wide receivers: Bob Shaw, Hall of Famer Elroy (Crazylegs) Hirsch, and Harold Jackson.

In the first 12 seasons of Rams' football through 1948, there were no four-touchdown games in team history. From 1949-51, there were two in three years, the first being Shaw catching four TD passes in a 53-27 win over Washington on Dec. 11, 1949. Just two seasons later, Hirsch had four TD receptions in the record-setting 54-14 win at the New York Yankees on Sept. 28, 1951.

Over 22 years would pass before another Ram would find paydirt four times in game. WR Jackson caught 4 scoring passes in a 37-31 win over Dallas on Oct. 14, 1973.

After three four-touchdown games in the first 62 years of Rams' football, eight have occurred in the past eight seasons, including two in 1999, and three in 2000.

The most current Jackson's four-TD game was the 8th such game by a Ram in the past eight seasons. Az-Zahir Hakim, Isaac Bruce, and Marshall Faulk (5 times) have all accomplished the feat. No other team has eight individual four-touchdown games over that span. (Kansas City and San Diego are the next closest with four).

Here's a look back at the Rams' most recent Fantastic Fours:

Hakim, @ Cincinnati; Oct. 3, 1999: All three of Hakim's catches went for touchdowns (9, 51, 18) and he returned a punt 84 yards for a fourth score in the 38-10 victory. Hakim actually muffed the punt, before scooping it up, eluding defenders and scoring. He finished the game with 3 receptions for 78 yards and 3 touchdowns and averaged 29.4 yards on punt returns (5-147-1).

Bruce, vs. San Francisco; Oct. 10, 1999: In consecutive weeks, the Rams pulled off the four-touchdown feat. Bruce caught four TD passes (13, 5, 45, 42) as the Rams ended their 17-game losing streak to the *****, winning 42-20. Bruce scored three touchdowns in the first quarter as the Rams raced to a 21-3 lead and set the tone for the streak-ending day and the changing of the guard in the NFC West. Bruce caught five passes for 134 yards and four touchdowns on the day.

Faulk, @ San Francisco; Oct. 29, 2000: Faulk had the first four touchdown game of his career (two rushing, two receiving), scoring all the Rams' touchdowns in the 34-24 win. Faulk had a pair of one-yard rushing scores, and caught scoring passes covering 19 and 16 yards. Faulk had 25 touches for 144 yards and four touchdowns (19-83-2 rushing, 6-61-2 receiving).

Faulk, vs. Minnesota; Dec. 10, 2000: Faulk began his impressive run of 11 touchdowns over the final three weeks of the season by recording the only four-rushing-touchdowns day in Rams' history. He scored on runs of 1, 1, 5 and 1 yards in the 40-29 win. Faulk had 31 touches for 178 yards and four TDs (25-135-4 rushing, 6-43-0 receiving).

Faulk, @ Tampa Bay; Dec. 18, 2000: Faulk joined Green Bay's Jim Taylor as the only players to score four touchdowns in consecutive weeks. Faulk had three rushing scores (2, 16, 9) and one receiving score (27) in the 38-35 Monday night loss to the Buccaneers. He finished the game with 26 touches for 132 yards and four touchdowns (22-79-3 rushing, 4-53-1 receiving).

Faulk, vs. Indianapolis; Dec. 30, 2001: In the first game against his former team, Faulk hit paydirt three times on the ground (1, 4, 1) and once through the air (5) in the 42-17 home win. Faulk had 32 touches for 165 yards and four touchdowns (25-118-3 rushing, 7-47-1 receiving).

Faulk, vs. Seattle; Oct. 20, 2002: Faulk welcomed Seattle back to the NFC West with his fifth four-touchdown game in three years. He scored three times rushing (3, 2, 1) and one time receiving (6) in the 37-20 win. Faulk totaled 39 touches for 235 yards and four scores (32-183-3 rushing, 7-52-1 receiving).

Steven Jackson, @ Minnesota, Dec. 31, 2006: Jackson became just the second running back in franchise history to score 4 touchdowns in a game. He caught one scoring pass of 10 yards, and added three touchdowns runs of 4, 2, and 59 yards in the 41-21 win against the league's top-ranked rushing defense. Jackson totaled 27 touches for 166 yards and four TDs (25-142-3 rushing, 2-24-1 receiving).