Steven Jackson and the St. Louis Rams probably would've liked it to happen in a 17-3 win, instead of that 18-17 loss, but he did it — with his 32nd rushing yard the Rams' veteran franchise back passed Eric Dickerson for the all-time franchise rushing record. All Eric Dickerson ever did in St. Louis was run over the Cardinals, so it was perhaps the least bittersweet records-are-made-to-be-broken moment since Fred McGriff was passed on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' all-time home run leaderboard.
Nevertheless, he's the new record-holder. It's our last chance to get acquainted with the old record-holders.
0. Steven Jackson, 2004 - — 7324 yards
The Rams are competitive enough to suggest that Jackson might have a chance to continue piling yardage onto this new record, too. Jackson's on pace for 1,352 rushing yards this season, which is both astonishing given his groin problems and the theoretical third-highest total of his career. He's gone over 1,000 every year since taking over full-time from Marshall Faulk.
Jackson already holds the franchise records for attempts; he's 15 touchdowns away from catching Marshall Faulk, which is still doable.
1. Eric Dickerson, 1983 - 1987 — 7245 yards
In what amounts to four years, Dickerson led the league in attempts twice and yards three times, in the process setting the all-time rushing yards record that Chris Johnson wants so badly to break and demonstrating, year after year, exactly the kind of running back usage patterns that will break people who aren't Eric Dickerson. It's difficult to imagine many seasons better than Dickerson's 1984 — 379 attempts, third in the league, at 5.6 yards per carry.
Three of the four full seasons Dickerson was with the Rams, he put up a top 20 all-time rushing yard season. Nobody else has that on their résumé.
2. Marshall Faulk, 1999 - 2005 — 6,959 yards
The grand finalé of the Greatest Show on Turf has a two-touchdown edge over Eric Dickerson, but he's now more than 300 yards shy of Jackson's new record.
Of course, there is also the fact of his 4,071 receiving yards and those 27 extra touchdowns. Faulk never once topped 260 carries in a season for the Rams, and his only two top-ten appearances in the category were with the Colts. But that relative underutilization allowed him to catch 80 passes a year for four consecutive seasons and also kept him fresh enough to lead football in yards per carry for three years running. His 2,429 yards from scrimmage in 1999 remains the second highest total in league history.
All things considered it's not a bad career in blue and gold, and then darker blue and darker gold, for a guy who'd already run for 5,320 yards when he arrived in St. Louis.
3. Lawrence McCutcheon, 1973 - 1979 — 6,186 yards
Here there be Los Angeles-based dragons — after Faulk the next-highest St. Louis total in team history is either Jerome Bettis, whose last 637 yards as a Ram came in St. Louis, or the illustrious Lawrence Phillips, who rushed for 1,265 yards in 1996 and 1997 when he wasn't making Dick Vermeil cry, assaulting women, and planning his illustrious tours through NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League.
Rounding out the St. Louis top five is, seriously, Robert Holcombe (636 yards) and Tony Banks (554), who just edged out Lamar Gordon. Trung Canidate couldn't be reached for comment, because the operator refused to believe it was a real name.
McCutcheon, like Eric Dickerson, spent a fair portion of his career tormenting the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1975 the five-time Pro Bowler met the Cardinals in the playoffs and torched them for 202 yards on 37 carries in a 35-23 blowout. I feel like some kind of bounty should be offered for the two St. Louis Rams who succeed in pushing him from this list.
4. Dick Bass, 1960 - 1969 — 5,417 yards
A three-time Pro Bowler, Bass began his career as a kick-returner and crossed the 1,000-yard barrier twice when that was a considerably harder thing to do. His 5,417 yards are nearly 2,000 more than the next player on the list,
5. Dan Towler, 1950 - 1955 — 3,493 yards
which means that Steven Jackson has been a top-five rusher in franchise history for almost four years, now. He could join the list of franchise luminaries after just three full seasons; it'll take the next St. Louis Ram to join this list considerably longer.
"Deacon" Dan Towler, in case you were interested, was a Pro Bowler in all four full seasons he played; he retired after the 1955 season to become a minister, after which he presumably had the quotation remarks removed from his title.
He was also born in Donora, Pa., which earns him a not-insignificant amount of St. Louis sports cred. I'm willing to swap him in for Lawrence Phillips if you are.