After 75 minutes of tough, hard-nosed, NFC West football, the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams played to the first tie game in the NFL. For St. Louis, it’s a game that can either be looked at as a missed opportunity or a game that can be used as a stepping stone for a young team that is trying to show they are making progress and growing up. What they do from this point until the remainder of the season will decide that but even though they made numerous mistakes that prevented them from winning, they were able to move the ball against one of the best defenses in the NFL and they never backed down from the division leader. That’s already more than the Rams offered a season ago.
Steven Jackson joined ESPN 101 in St. Louis with the Fast Lane to talk about how important it was to establish the running game against San Francisco, what it meant to have Danny Amendola back in the lineup, what he thinks about the “tie” rule, what one play he thinks cost the Rams a win, if he can take any positives from the fact that the team was able to move the ball against a strong defense like San Francisco and what he will say to Chris Givens and Janoris Jenkins, who were inactive Sunday because of disciplinary reasons.
How important it was to establish the running game against San Francisco:
“It was very important for us. We knew that they were going to be a tough, physical defense and we knew that they were going to try to come out and intimidate us and the only way you could kind of bully someone back is to be a bully yourself. We wanted to be physical up front and win the line of scrimmage and the offensive line did that.”
What it meant to have Danny Amendola back in the lineup:
“It was huge. He brings that explosiveness, that subtle quickness in the slot. He’s definitely a playmaker that we missed and extremely happy to have him back.”
What he makes of the “tie” rule in the NFL:
“I don’t know, I don’t know how to feel. I’m just like you, I guess as the season unfolds we will see how positive or negative this will be on us but we have to continue to move forward and learn from it. We did a lot of good things in this game but also some things that didn’t help ourselves, things we talked about in previous games that kind of prevented us from completely taking the game over.”
On the play that he thinks most prevented the Rams from beating the 49ers:
“The one thing about it is it was not one person or one unit, it was all three phases. We had some issues where we could’ve solidified the game so as a young team, we keep talking about our youth and we have to learn from this but all the things that we can learn from are correctable and this is a game where a lot of guys grew up in. I was really happy to see that.”
How much the team can take from the fact that they were able to move the football so effectively against such a good defense:
“Yes. We were able to be a very downhill, determined and gritty team. Then we were also able to spread the ball out and Sam (Bradford) got the ball out of his hands and allowed our receivers to make plays downfield. We showed Sunday that we can move the ball effectively against a very good defense.”
Whether he plans on talking to Janoris Jenkins and Chris Givens, who were inactive Sunday because of disciplinary reasons:
“I will leave that to the coaching staff but I’ve had a chance to talk to Givens and that’s moreso because our lockers are right next to each other in the locker room this past Sunday. Just talked to him and being a big brother. Also being a leader and talked to him about being professional. At this level we all have to be responsible for our actions and for the guys behind him, the Brian Quick’s and everyone else, they have to step up for the guys who aren’t going for whatever reason. It’s like an injury, someone goes down and someone else steps up. You have to encourage those guys to make sure they’re on top of their gameplan. We always know we are one play away from having to be in the game.”