There were plenty of reasons for it, but it happened anyway—Steven Jackson took just seven of the St. Louis Rams' 17 running back carries on Sunday, causing the longstanding trade rumors surrounding him to flare up ahead of Thursday's NFL Trade Deadline. It was a setback for Jackson, who started slow in 2012, after he'd averaged more than 4.2 yards per carry in each of the three weeks prior. And with Daryl Richardson and (in garbage time) Isaiah Pead grabbing 10 carries in the loss—for 76 yards—it was the least essential Jackson had looked in months.
For all the talk, of course, we still have little idea of where Jackson would go; as much as it seems like the Rams could let him go, there's been little talk about him at any of the possible playoff-contender destinations, and the awkward fact remains that Steven Jackson is more valuable to the Rams than anybody else. The Rams could end up retiring his jersey; any other team is going to see him as nothing more than a rented battering ram in the red zone.
Demand remains an open question, and it will right up to the deadline. But with a bye week ahead and Daryl Richardson's increased role in the offense already implemented, the Rams look closer to trading Steven Jackson than they ever have.