Stephen Jackson breaks 10,000 rushing yards
Normally, Steven Jackson eclipsing 10,000 career rushing yards would be cause for celebration.
If only the St. Louis Rams could have contained Adrian Peterson.
Jackson needed only nine years to become the 15th running back in league history to reach the milestone with the same team - but it came in a 36-22 loss Sunday to the Vikings as Peterson ran for a season-high 212 yards.
Still, Jackson didn't let the loss, which pretty much crushed the team's playoff hopes, take away from his accomplishment.
"I've been blessed. I have an amazing support group in my mom and dad," Jackson said. "I never forget, you know, that I was a young guy just dreaming to be a part of the NFL."
"I've consistently been able to just show up and be a blue-(collared) kind of hard-working kind of guy."
Jackson rushed for 73 yards on just eight carries and has 909 yards on the year, keeping him in range of an eighth straight 1,000-yard season that would extend his franchise record. St. Louis has two road games remaining to play.
"That's a heck of an achievement," quarterback Sam Bradford said of Jackson's 10,000 yards. "It would have really been nice to get that with a win, to make it that much sweeter for him. Even a loss doesn't take away from that. His career is remarkable."
The play that sent him over the 10,000-yard barrier came on a 9-yard draw late in the third quarter. Vikings players offered their congratulations during the break before the fourth quarter, and Jackson was touched.
"When you have your peers give you that respect and acknowledge your accomplishment," Jackson said, "it means a lot."
Peterson, who averaged 8.8 yards on 24 carries, got to enjoy his 82-yard touchdown gallop.
Well in the clear, Peterson had enough time to sneak a peek at the video board in the end zone as he finished the long run - and topped it off with some fancy high-stepping.
In a victory that wasn't as close as the score indicated, the Minnesota running back remained hot on the trail of the NFL's single-season record.
Peterson has a career-best 1,812 yards rushing, leaving him 294 shy of breaking the mark of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams in 1984. Peterson, less than a year removed from a serious knee injury, has two games left - at Houston and home against Green Bay - to top Dickerson.
"Yeah, it's been in my sights," Peterson said. "I'm not focusing on it. It's in the back of my head that, hey I definitely want to accomplish that.
"I look at today's game and I could have had 300."
The Vikings scored 10 of their 23 points in the second quarter off turnovers by Bradford, including a 29-yard interception return by defensive end Everson Griffen that the Rams quarterback watched in disbelief from his knees.
They were up by 26 before Bradford, whose botched center snap also cost the Rams a field goal in the second quarter, threw touchdown passes to Danny Amendola and Lance Kendricks in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings remained in the playoff picture while seriously damaging the Rams' postseason hopes. St. Louis had won three in a row to become a dark horse candidate for the playoffs.
A moment of silence was observed for victims of the Connecticut elementary school shooting before the national anthem, with dozens of children wearing uniform jerseys holding hands with players in a circle extending from the 30-yard lines and centered on the Rams' logo at midfield.
In a tribute to the 26 victims, each team sent the players wearing the No. 26 jersey - Rams running back Daryl Richardson and Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield - and they held hands with coaches Jeff Fisher and Leslie Frazier to form a smaller interior circle.
Peterson topped his previous single-season best of 1,760 yards in 2007 on a 52-yard run in the fourth quarter. On both long runs, Peterson made something out of nothing with nimble cutbacks to daylight.
Christian Ponder had a turnover-free game and ran for the game's first score for the Vikings, who had been just 1-5 on the road with the other victory at Detroit in September.
Rookie kicker Blair Walsh was perfect on five field-goal attempts, three of them from 50 yards and beyond.
The Rams stopped Peterson, held to minus-3 yards on five carries, but not Ponder on the Vikings' opening drive. Benefiting from a short field at the St. Louis 45, the quarterback was 3 for 3 for 38 yards plus a 5-yard scramble that put them up 7-0.
Rookie Brian Quick won a jump ball with A.J. Jefferson in the end zone on a 4-yard reception, landing just inbounds to tie it early in the second quarter.
Then, the Vikings took over.
Peterson's 82-yard score came on the next play, Walsh's 50-yard field goal made the Rams pay for Bradford's botched snap and Griffen's interception return gave Minnesota 17 points in a span of just 3:56.