The St. Louis Rams' star running back scored his third touchdown of the season against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but his dominant midseason run appears to be over.
Steven Jackson picked up his third touchdown of the season on Sunday, and his first in almost a month, but outside the end zone it was his second straight stifled performance after a three-game tear reinvigorated his season in mid-November. A week after the 49ers held him to just 48 yards on 21 carries, Jackson finished with 64 yards on 19 more in Buffalo.
Of course, the Bills' run defense—which was so bad early in the season that they're still averaging nearly five yards per carry against—has been strong of late, and the 49ers are good all over. But the Rams will need more four-yards-a-carry games from Jackson if they're going to back their way into this unlikely playoff spot.
The good news for Steven Jackson fans (and fantasy football owners) is that the Rams are giving him a full workload no matter what, after he seemed to recede into the background in the early going. Since November 1—that is, since the Rams decided against trading Jackson—Daryl Richardson, their impressive rookie complementary back, has averaged 5.2 carries per game, to Jackson's 21.2.
Before November, those numbers were 7.8 and 12.6. There's been an offensive shift, and it's unmistakeable: The Rams are running more, and Steven Jackson is getting more of the focus in the running game. Down the stretch, the question will be whether Steven Jackson is gaining 65 yards on those 20 carries or 85.