James Laurinaitis sets Rams' tackles record but would've preferred a win

ST. LOUIS -- With a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell on the opening drive of Sunday's 12-6 loss, St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis etched his name into the franchise's record books.

It was Laurinaitis' second tackle of the drive and No. 916 in his six-plus years in the league, moving him into first-place on the franchise's all-time list ahead of legendary defensive tackle Merlin Olsen.

For the game, the press box statistics credited Laurinaitis with eight tackles, though those numbers are unofficial and not the numbers the Rams use to track tackles throughout the season. That's an important distinction to makes as the tackle totals the Rams use are based on coaches' review of the tape rather than the numbers you'll find here on ESPN.com or elsewhere.

Regardless, there's no doubting that Laurinaitis had at least two tackles in anyone's eyes Sunday on his way to the record. As you'd expect, the always humble Laurinaitis gave credit to everyone but himself when asked about it after the game.

"I have just been really blessed by the Lord to stay healthy for seven years," Laurinaitis said. "I really wish we could have won."

Indeed, Laurinaitis' accomplishment is as much a product of his durability as his ability. On Sunday, he started his 98th consecutive game, which ranks third among active linebackers. And as a team captain and the middle linebacker, Laurinaitis is on the field for all three downs, putting him in position to produce more often than not.

Beyond the tackles, Laurinaitis' nine interceptions are fourth amongst linebackers since he came into the league in 2009 and he's the only player in the league with 15 or more sacks and nine or more interceptions in that time.

But none of those accomplishments mean as much to Laurinaitis as the chance to have a winning record for the first time in his career would.

"I have been saying it all week, I want to be on one of those pictures in the hallway like the ’99 [world championship] team," Laurinaitis said. "You look at everything and that’s all nice and pretty at Rams Park but the ’99 team got it done. That’s what I really care about. I’ve just been blessed to stay healthy and just humbled that the Rams have believed in me for seven years. I’m glad to be able to stick here."