Van Jefferson didn't want to leave behind the most important football of his young career.
The former Ravenwood High School and Florida wide receiver hauled in his first NFL touchdown, perhaps the first of many, Monday night with the Los Angeles Rams in a 27-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff hit Jefferson on a seven-yard route in the end zone, an equalizing score for LA about four minutes before halftime to get the Rams tied at 14.
Rams wideouts Cooper Kupp (145 yards on 11 catches) and Robert Woods (130 yards on 12 catches and a score) carried a bulk of the passing attack during the game, leaving Jefferson's lone catch his first career touchdown.
The former Raptor was ecstatic about his first score, setting his ball down briefly to celebrate with his teammates before quickly heading back to grab his keepsake ball.
Rams head coach Sean McVay said last week that he had a plan to get Jefferson, a 2020 second-round pick, and fellow rookie Cam Akers, a second-round running back out of Florida State, more involved in the passing attack.
“That’s a big point of emphasis the second half of the season,” McVay said, via the Rams Wire. “I thought they both did a nice job wanting to continue to find opportunities. The goal is we’ve got a lot of really good football players, I think the more that we can utilize all of them while keeping our core guys fresh and knowing that, ‘Hey, you still have your guys like the Robert Woods, the Coopers (Kupp), the (Tyler) Higbees. Josh Reynolds had eight catches yesterday.’ You want to get a variety of guys involved because we’ve got guys that we think are capable, they’ll stay fresher throughout the game.
"When you’re efficient on some of those third downs, and you’re able to stay on the field, you can get those players more involved like the plan was, but we’re going to continue to see those guys develop. I thought they did a nice job with the opportunities they had. It was something that we wanted to focus on. It will remain a point of emphasis."
Funny enough, Jefferson and Akers both had touchdowns Monday night.
Through 11 games, Jefferson has 143 yards on 11 yards and his Monday night touchdown. With receiver Josh Reynolds a free agent next spring, the Ravenwood alum should factor more into the Rams offense next year.
The Rams are 7-3 so far this year, ahead of the Seattle Seahawks at the top of the formidable NFC West. They should factor into the NFC playoff race come January.