The biggest story nobody is talking about from the St. Louis Rams' 31-28 victory over the Washington Redskins last Sunday was the running back situation.
Yes Sam Bradford showed why he was drafted #1 overall, Danny Amendola set a career high in receiving yards, the Rams came back from..blah…blah…blah.
And definitely not the Steven Jackson benching/growing pull saga. Rather it appears for the first time since drafting Jackson to go behind Marshall Faulk the Rams have a two-pronged attack from the back field.
This is big news people, GET EXCITED!
Richardson saw extensive playing time in Week 2 due to Steven Jackson getting benched/hurt, and he took full advantage. Richardson has outplayed the more hyped Isaiah Pead and appears to be a very capable backup running back, something the Rams have not had since Jackson became the starter.
After running for 58 yards on nine carries, workhorse running back Steven Jackson sat out the rest of the game. Most presumed that it was due to a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty that Jackson drew for spiking the ball after what he thought (and replays seemed to show) was a touchdown.
It was reported shortly after the game that Jackson had suffered a groin injury and that's why he came out of the game. That worked out nicely.
In his absence it was Daryl Richardson, not Isaiah Pead, who the team drafted in the second round of this year's draft, taking over the rushing duties the rest of the way.
Richardson's biggest moment came at a pivotal time. The Redskins had just scored on quarterback Robert Griffin III's 7-yard run, taking a 28-23 lead with 9:33 left in the third. The Rams hoped to keep pace on their next possession. On a first down from their own 41, quarterback Sam Bradford handed to Richardson, who burst outside and sprinted down the sideline for 53 yards. Washington cornerback Josh Wilson had an angle and knocked Richardson out of bounds at the Redskins' 6.
As the Rams held on to their home-opening win, the 22-year-old, Richardson carried 15 times for 83 yards and caught three passes for 19 yards. A 7th round pick out of tiny Abilene Christian University (go ahead and Google it, I’ll wait), the diminutive tailback became a large factor in an offense that clicked for 452 yards.
In Week 3 when the Rams face the 1-1 Chicago Bears, all signs point to Jackson being able to play. But should Jeff Fisher and the coaching staff think about giving Richardson some snaps? He made the most of the opportunity that was presented on Sunday and most importantly, the Rams won the game without Jackson.
Jackson is the Rams all-time leading rusher and definitely deserves to be the featured back. In the past six seasons, Jackson has averaged 291.6 rushing attempts per season. Maybe the team could use Richardson to preserve Jackson, keeping him fresh for the stage of the game when they need crucial yards or are attempting to close out an opponent? Richardson would also make a prototypical third down back.
Since becoming the starting running back, there has never been much depth behind Jackson. But he will be 30 years old next season and it wouldn't hurt to start finding someone to take some of the load off of him. Richardson and an untested Pead fit that bill.
Expect to see Steven Jackson in the prominent role he's been in for eight seasons, at least for the rest of this year. But should he need to come off the field, whatever the reason, the Rams will be in good hands with Richardson.
And THAT is not something Rams fans should take for granted.