ST. LOUIS — Of all times to be injured, Tyoka Jackson is about to miss playing against his biggest rivals.
Jackson a defensive lineman for the St. Louis Rams is doubtful for tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for whom he played for five seasons, because of a pulled left hamstring.
“This is a bad time for me right now,” Jackson said. “I don’t like missing practices, and the thought of missing a game is just killing me, it’s tearing my heart out, especially against these guys.”
The Rams (3-2) and Bucs (1-4) were two of the NFC’s premier teams earlier this decade, and this will be their fourth straight meeting. Tampa Bay has won the past four regular-season matchups, though the Rams beat the Buccaneers in the 1999 NFC championship game en route to their only Super Bowl victory.
Both teams have struggled early this season, although both are coming off perhaps their best game. The Rams rallied from a 17-point deficit in the final six minutes of regulation before beating the Seahawks in overtime. The Bucs, after an 0-4 start two years after their Super Bowl championship, rallied behind second-string quarterback Brian Griese to beat the Saints.
The Rams know better than to overlook the Bucs. For one thing, Tampa Bay’s lone victory came against a team that beat St. Louis.
For another, the Rams don’t want to spoil the momentum their comeback created. Before that game the Seahawks appeared poised to become the new power in the NFC West.
“Every game we play is bigger and bigger and bigger,” Jackson said. “Going out and laying an egg here makes that game last week look like nothing.”