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Rams vs. Cardinals: Steven Jackson comes alive as Rams' passing game falters

The St. Louis Rams' offense, after a fantastic first-drive touchdown run, fell apart in a hurry in the second half, but it took them a while to go to Steven Jackson. Their longtime running back, who recently tore up his 2013 contract with the Rams, was invisible most of the time, early, and ineffectual when he wasn't. As the third quarter wound down they finally went to Jackson—and the Edward Jones Dome saw, for the first time all year, the old Steven Jackson, vibrating like crazy behind the line of scrimmage and bursting through it for big gains.

The Rams' two most effective drives of the second half both featured Jackson almost self-consciously. In the first Jackson took their first four touches, going for seven, five, 11, and five more yards to get the Rams off midfield. With Daryl Richardson he proceeded to drag the Rams to the Arizona 16 before a Patrick Peterson interception ended things in the end zone.

The Rams went to Jackson again to get across midfield after finally forcing a punt. He picked up 12 and eight yards, looking faster than he has all season, before Bradford ended things early again—this time with a 51-yard touchdown pass to Chris Givens.

Jackson's seemed almost like an anachronism for most of the season, struggling to even fall forward into positive yardage and making news when he's injured, or people are too excited about Daryl Richardson, or he's opting out of his contract. Thursday, whatever the outcome—he ended the drive with 14 carries for 73 yards—he's in the news because he's Steven Jackson, and he knows how to run the ball.