INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Brought in to help the Rams generate explosive plays on offense, wide receiver DeSean Jackson's opportunities to do so were somewhat scarce through his first two games.
He had just two catches (on two targets) for 21 yards in the Rams' season-opening win over the Bears while playing 14 of 52 possible offensive snaps, then played just three out of a possible 59 offensive snaps and didn't receive a single target against the Colts in Week 2.
Rams head coach Sean McVay earlier this week took responsibility and said that he had to figure out a better way to get him involved.
"He's too good of a player," McVay said on Monday. "We brought him here to impact and influence the game and that's something that's going to be reflected moving forward."
McVay made good on his promise. Jackson was on the field on Los Angeles' second offensive series, then finished with a team-high 120 receiving yards on three receptions plus one touchdown in the Rams' 34-24 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
Of course, it wasn't just Jackson's early appearance that signaled McVay's commitment.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford looked his way twice – the first time, he appeared to underthrow Jackson and Bucs cornerback Ross Cockrell was there to break up the pass; the second time, they couldn't connect on a free play due to an offsides penalty against Bucs linebacker Lavonte David. The third time was the charm, though, as Stafford connected with Jackson on a 75-yard touchdown on 3rd and 10 early in the third quarter to give the Rams a 21-7 lead.
"I was happy for him," Stafford said. "He did a great job getting behind the defense a couple of times today. I missed him on a couple, so glad to make one of them count. It was a big play for us – instead of going 3-and-out right there, we get a long touchdown and put a little wind in the sails, so it was great."
On the first attempt, Jackson said they dialed up a play based on a mismatch they saw they could get with him matched up against the nickel cornerback, but "came up a little short on that." On the second attempt, Jackson said Stafford stepped up and made a double-move but was unable to get the throw off.
"Coming out of the second half, it was huge to get that big play on the 75-yarder," Jackson said. "It kind of electrified the fans, the stands, the team. It was a big one for us."
Jackson ran all the way into the tunnel after the touchdown grab, and when he emerged, fittingly McVay was the first person he saw.
McVay had run all the way down the sideline to celebrate with him.
"We got such a special relationship over the years, and the respect we have for one another," Jackson said. "So it was a great opportunity for me to score, a 75-yarder, first time back home. For him to be the first one I see, that was special."
When asked about Jackson again on Sunday, McVay echoed sentiments similar to what he shared six days earlier.
"We got him on the grass," McVay said. "That was something that, like I said, nobody's more responsible than I was those first couple weeks. I don't run away from those excuses because whatever I would say after would be an excuse, but he's a playmaker, he showed that. But we do need to get that ball security better, I was not kidding about that. But he did a great job. It was fun. He's electric and we got a lot of players that made a lot of plays."