NFL

Rams RB Jackson piles up 100-yard games

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ST. LOUIS (AP)

Steven Jackson has three games with 100 yards rushing and is among the NFL leaders, despite missing most of three games with injuries.

In St. Louis' 13-12 win at Cleveland on Sunday, Jackson rushed 27 times for 128 yards. It was the 30th 100-yard game of his career, which trails only Eric Dickerson (38) in team history. Jackson's performance marked the fourth time in his career that he has put together three straight games topping 100 yards.

Going into this Sunday's home game against Seattle, he ranks ninth in the NFL with 707 yards on 140 carries - a 5.1 average.

The former No. 1 draft pick hurt a quadriceps muscle on the first offensive play of the season against the Eagles. He didn't play much in the next two games, but now he's back and the Rams have won two of their last three games.

''These last three games, we've been pretty competitive so that's allowed the offense to stay a little more balanced,'' Jackson said Thursday. ''Of course, the offensive line has been doing a good job. It's a lot easier to run the ball when you're up or only down by one possession.''

Coach Steve Spagnuolo likes what he is seeing from his three-time Pro Bowl back.

''I think he's hit a little bit of a groove and that's great to see. We need that,'' Spagnuolo said. ''Every team in this league needs their so called elite players to be playing this way this time of the season.''

Spagnuolo said he and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels are careful not to overuse Jackson.

''We don't want to wear Steven out,'' Spagnuolo said. ''We take some snaps off of him here and there. We know what he's all about. He's done that for many years here and he's helping our football team right now.''

McDaniels acknowledged it's easy to call plays for Jackson with how he has been performing.

''He makes life a little easier,'' McDaniels said. ''That was the best four-minute drive I've ever been a part of there at the end of the game. You just hand the ball to him twice and he does it. The guys are blocking well for him. If we get him to the line of scrimmage clean, he's going to make a bunch of yards. He's proven that over the course of his career. He's the best back I've ever had a chance to be on the same team with.''

Adding receiver Brandon Lloyd and getting Mark Clayton back to go along with Brandon Gibson and Danario Alexander has helped Jackson, too. Teams still focus on him but they have to respect the passing game now, too.

''When teams respect your weapons at the receiver spot, although they're packing the box, they're not as a aggressive as in years past,'' Jackson said.

Jackson is happy with the number of touches he's getting running and receiving.

''I believe so,'' Jackson said. ''The touches are balanced. Last week, we got some screen passes working. My involvement in the game has been constant and it's given me a rhythm and I think that's when I'm best, when I'm in the rhythm of the game.''

Tagged: Rams, Steven Jackson

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