Rams

Rams Studs & Duds: QB Bryce Perkins Dazzles, Rookies Have Highs & Lows

There was plenty to get excited about in what was a far-from-perfect preseason opener for the Rams.

The Los Angeles Rams got off to a slow start in Saturday’s Week 1 preseason “road” game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. 

The Rams didn’t score till midway through the second quarter. But once they got rolling, coach Sean McVay’s team picked up a 29-22 victory on the same field where their championship dreams came true in February. 

There were still some ups and downs, as with any preseason opener. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable studs and duds from the Rams’ win Saturday night.

Stud: Undrafted rookie WR Lance McCutcheon

McCutcheon came out of nowhere to steal the show at SoFi. Along with Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins, the undrafted rookie was the only notable offensive playmaker, as the team likely would’ve lost the game if not for his contributions. 

He slowly found a rhythm with a few targets and a catch through most of the first half. But then he provided the play of the night with a high-pointed catch down the left sideline over his defender before breaking two tackles to jog into the end zone for a 60-yard score.

It didn’t stop there for McCutcheon, who came through with another impressive contested catch for a successful two-point conversion try as the Rams took a 22-14 lead in the third.

All that alone would have made the undrafted rookie’s night a flourishing success. But then McCutcheon snagged the go-ahead touchdown on a third-down prayer from Perkins, once again showing he had strong hands as he outmuscled his defender for the grab.

The Rams took a 29-22 lead and didn’t look back. McCutcheon was responsible for 14 total points. 

Dud: Rookie Mistakes

Three of the Rams’ rookies had some bumps and bruises in their first NFL action. This included the team’s top selection, offensive lineman Logan Bruss. 

Bruss got the start at right guard but felt some early pressure from the Chargers’ pass rush. In the first quarter, he lost his balance and got put right on his back after a straight-line rush by defensive lineman Morgan Fox right after the snap. This resulted in Fox grabbing hold of the ankles of Perkins as the Chargers rallied for the sack. 

Early in the second, Bruss got blown by on the pass rush again, forcing Perkins to step up and take a hard hit against an unblocked man. Luckily for Bruss, the magical ability of Perkins was on full display as he spun out of multiple would-be tacklers to pick up the first down with his legs.

Though Bruss’ mishap will be forgotten due to the highlight play, he got beat at the immediate point of attack against just a four-man rush.

Rookie defensive backs Derion Kendrick and Cobie Durant, who many on the team raved about during the offseason, also had a few notable mistakes.

Kendrick had a pick-six right in his hands as the Chargers were pinned back on their own goal line at the end of the first quarter. He got credited the pass defense, but he dropped an easy interception that was staring him right in the facemask. 

Durant was a bit quiet, but he missed an open-field tackle that resulted in a first down early in the first quarter. 

As a whole, the drafted rookies failed to live up to expectations in their debuts. 

Stud: QB Bryce Perkins

Perkins looked like a veteran out there as he seemed to make all the right throws and handled consistent pocket pressure well. 

He only went 10 of 17 passing but had 133 yards and two touchdowns along with it. On the 60-yard touchdown throw, he showed incredible arm strength and accuracy as he met McCutheon’s hands perfectly down the left sideline despite tight coverage. 

He also shined with his legs as the team’s leading rusher, as he posted eight carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. 

Perkins pulled off a highlight-reel scramble in the second quarter that saw him break multiple sack attempts as he scurried for a first down. In the third, he used a read-option play at the goal line to freeze the defense before walking in for a one-yard score.

Perkins showed poise, leadership, and, on top of it all, flat-out ability to make plays happen. His ceiling is only getting bigger. 

Dud: Rams secondary

The performance of the two rookie defensive backs was notably underwhelming, but the Rams’ secondary played inconsistent football for most of the night. 

Allowing 236 passing yards and some abysmal blown coverage on both of the touchdowns through the air, the secondary for coordinator Raheem Morris didn’t look improved despite the team making a clear attempt this offseason to remedy that part of the defense. 

The game-sealing interception was one of few positive plays, but it came on a bit of luck as Chargers receiver Michael Bandy didn’t maintain a first-down catch before wrestling for the ball to the ground with Rams defensive back Dan Isom, who came away with it.

The Rams will take anything to seal the win, including a wacky interception. But it was night from the secondary that left more to be desired. 

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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