ST. LOUIS (AP) -In his first game after a bulging disk in his back sidelined him before the St. Louis Rams' bye, Steven Jackson was supposed to get a light workload.
So much for that plan.
``I think that went out the door,'' Jackson said with a hearty laugh on Wednesday, recalling his significant contribution to the Rams' first victory of the season. Jackson had 22 carries for 76 yards, caught five passes for 24 yards and threw an option pass for a touchdown in the first victory of the year after an 0-8 start.
``Twenty-seven touches, we eased him right in, right?'' coach Scott Linehan said. ``It kind of worked, though. It wasn't the same as a normal game like last year when he basically took every play.''
Last year at this time, Linehan pointed out that Jackson wouldn't have left the field. In Sunday's 37-29 victory at New Orleans, the Rams spotted rookie Brian Leonard at tailback and fullback and gave Antonio Pittman his first significant game action of the season.
Pittman had seven carries for 53 yards, including a 43-yard jaunt. Leonard, the team's second round pick, had two carries for 6 yards and two catches for 16 yards.
The Rams (1-8) aren't that worried about Jackson's back after he emerged basically unscathed from the Saints game. The partially torn groin that sidelined him for a month also appears to be a non-issue.
Jackson said Wednesday he felt fine, and didn't have any scares during the game.
``It really doesn't take a big shot,'' he said. ``Any hit can kind of make it act up. I just put it out of my mind, and if it was going to happen I hope it happened on a good play.''
Still, Linehan said he'll keep rotating in Leonard and Pittman as much as possible. That had been the Rams' plan to ease Jackson's load when they drafted Leonard.
``Brian can play a lot of third-down situations and Antonio did a great job to spell by series,'' Linehan said. ``I think that's what keeps a guy like Steven fresh.
``As long as we stay healthy, I think we're headed in the right direction.''
Jackson scored the Rams' first touchdown to tie it at 7 in the first quarter, then floated a wobbling pass to tight end Randy McMichael for the go-ahead 2-yard score in the second quarter. It was the first career pass for Jackson, the Rams' first-round pick in 2004.
``It was a surprise and when it came into the huddle I was like, 'Nah, no way, they're going to call a timeout or something,''' Jackson said. ``For it to happen and for it to make a completion, that was big.
``I think that really set us over the top and everyone loosened up.''
Jackson said that mood still prevailed as the Rams returned to practice in preparation for Sunday's game at San Francisco.
``Definitely, the injury doesn't hurt as bad and the mood is pretty happy, to be honest,'' Jackson said. ``You play the game to win and when you come up short, at least me, it stays with me for the whole week.''

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