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Monday, September 27, 2010
A closer look at Steven Jackson's TD

By Mike Sando

Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett knows better than most what St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson can accomplish from three-receiver personnel on second-and-long.

Haslett was the Rams' interim head coach when Jackson gashed the Dallas Cowboys for an 18-yard gain under those circumstances two seasons ago. That game marked the Rams' most recent home victory -- until Jackson's 42-yard touchdown run on second-and-14 helped St. Louis defeat the Redskins 30-16 in Week 3.

The play showcased Jackson's ability and, if you looked closely enough, what it takes to turn a short or medium gain into a momentum altering big play.

Jackson had lost 4 yards on the previous play, so this was a likely passing situation. The Rams set up the touchdown with two wide receivers left, one right, Jackson nearly 8 yards deep in the backfield and Daniel Fells, the tight end, in a three-point stance next to right tackle Jason Smith. The Redskins countered with only six defenders in the box.

Jackson took the handoff and ran off tackle to the right. Fells turned Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo to the inside. Smith turned Redskins linebacker Rocky McIntosh to the outside. Mark Clayton, the wide receiver on the right side, impeded cornerback DeAngelo Hall near the line of scrimmage. Left guard Adam Goldberg let linebacker Andre Carter knife into the backfield, shoving Carter hard enough to prevent him from getting back into the play.

Jackson cut back to his left at the 35, making safety Kenny Moore miss. Moore had launched his body at Jackson instead of trying to wrap him up (Jackson's 245-pound frame poses an injury risk to defensive backs). Moore missed Jackson and chopped down teammate Vonnie Holliday back at the 37. Jackson was at the 33 by then. Receiver Brandon Gibson hustled from the far left side past the right hash, where he decked cornerback Phillip Buchanan.

Center Jason Brown and left guard Jacob Bell had shoved nose tackle Albert Haynesworth off the line, with Brown peeling off to prevent linebacker London Fletcher from making the tackle near the 30. Hayesworth had made his way back into the play near the 28, but left tackle Rodger Saffold was waiting for him. Buchanan, having been shoved by Gibson, flew into Haynesworth's legs just as Saffold arrived. Haynesworth stood no chance.

Receiver Danny Amendola, working from the left slot, hustled across the formation and back in search of someone to block. He wasn't needed in the end. Jackson outran safety LaRon Landry to the end zone.

Injury note: Jackson suffered a strained groin during the game. The Rams described his status as day-to-day.