Sun Aug 14 2:34am ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins (16) scores a touchdown during the second half of the team's preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Michael Bandy, left, scores a touchdown during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Lance McCutcheon, top, catches a touchdown pass over Los Angeles Chargers' Deane Leonard (33) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley stands on the sideline during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins, top right, throws under pressure from Los Angeles Chargers' Morgan Fox (56) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Chris Rumph II celebrates after sacking Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Joshua Kelley (25) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams cornerback Robert Rochell during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins throws during the first half of the team's preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, right, celebrates after sacking Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Joe Reed (12) makes a touchdown catch next to Los Angeles Rams safety Terrell Burgess during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Chase Daniel (4) is pressured by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Daniel Hardy during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis )
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) Bryce Perkins and Lance McCutcheon solidified their cases to come off the Los Angeles Rams roster bubble Saturday night.
Perkins threw a pair of touchdown passes to McCutcheon as the defending Super Bowl champions held off the Los Angeles Chargers 29-22 in the preseason opener for both teams in which most of the starters for both teams did not play.
''I was really pleased with Bryce's ability to be able to handle all the different situations that came up,'' coach Sean McVay said of Perkins. ''He's a playmaker. I thought (offensive coordinator) Liam (Coen) did a good job of putting him in good spots to accentuate his skill sets.''
Perkins - the Rams' third-string quarterback last season - played the entire game with Matthew Stafford and John Wolford not dressed. He completed 9 of 16 passes for 126 yards and also showed off his mobility with 39 yards on eight carries, including a 1-yard TD midway through the third quarter.
McCutcheon, an undrafted free agent rookie who has drawn rave reviews from Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp during training camp, finished with five receptions for 87 yards. He also had a reception for a 2-point conversion following Perkins' rushing touchdown.
Perkins connected with McCutcheon for a 60-yard touchdown up the left sideline to give the Rams a 14-7 lead with 5:17 lead in the second quarter. McCutcheon got leverage over Chargers safety Deane Leonard, caught it at the Chargers 29-yard line and then avoided a tackle attempt from JT Woods before scoring.
''I just saw the ball in the air, and first I was just trying to come down with it. Went up in a contested catch, and was just able to move the ball away and get my arm in there,'' McCutcheon said.
With the score tied at 22 in the fourth quarter, McCutcheon caught an 11-yard TD pass in the right corner of the end zone to put the Rams on top with 6:17 remaining.
''Whenever I'm out there, I'm really just trying compete my tail off for the guys. I know all those guys are fighting, so I just try to do my part and fight as well,'' Perkins said.
The Chargers had the ball late in the fourth quarter and were driving to tie the game when Easton Stick's pass to Michael Bandy was picked off by Daniel Isom at the Rams' 8 with 27 seconds remaining. Bandy temporarily had possession of the ball before Isom was able to strip it for the pick.
Stick and Chase Daniel each played one half as Justin Herbert watched the game from the sideline.
''I think both played well,'' Chargers coach Brandon Staley said of his quarterbacks. ''They moved the team, took care of the football and good decisions. That's the way they've been throughout camp.''
Daniel threw for a pair of first-half touchdowns. The Chargers received the opening kickoff and scored in nine plays as Joe Reed split the Rams' secondary and hauled in a 41-yard TD pass less than four minutes into the game.
The 13-year veteran - who was 11 of 17 for 117 yards - then found Bandy for a 16-yard score with 37 seconds remaining in the second quarter to tie it at 14 going into halftime.
THE MORE YOU KNOW
Staley said facing a mobile quarterback like Perkins should be a valuable teaching tool going into the regular season.
''That's life in the NFL. The best people you face are going to be like that,'' Staley said. ''We had him a couple times. Our guys are gonna learn that if you make those plays, this game could have gone differently.''
Chargers linebacker Troy Reeder, who played three seasons for the Rams, knew Perkins was going to be tough to bring down.
''I was telling our guys all night, I was like we got to keep him in the pocket,'' Reeder said. ''He's a special, special player, and when he gets out of the pocket it's even worse for us, so I'm a huge Bryce Perkins fan. I think he's a stud.''
STARTING IT OFF
AJ Rose - who spent last season on the Vikings' practice squad - bounced off a pair of Chargers' defenders and scored from 1 yard out to tie it at 7 midway through the second quarter. Rose and Raymond Calais each had eight carries and got the most work among the Rams' running backs.
Stick led the Chargers on an 18-play, 75-yard scoring drive that took 10:15. The possession ended with Stick going 3-yards around right end for a TD early in the fourth quarter. Stick then completed a pass to tight end Hunter Kampmoyer for the 2-point conversion to make it 22-all.
Stick was 16 of 23 for 119 yards and an interception.
HAPPY HALF ANNIVERSARY
The Rams' preseason opener came six months after they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium.
Rams: DT Bobby Brown was helped off the field during the fourth quarter after he couldn't put any weight on his right ankle. Brown had a sack during the second quarter.
Rams: Host the Houston Texans Friday.
Chargers: Host the Dallas Cowboys next Saturday.
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus went 2-for-2 on extra points during Saturday's preseason victory over the Dallas Cowboys. He also converted his lone field goal attempt. The 31-year-old has been one of the NFL's more reliable kickers, so it comes as no surprise that the Broncos did not entertain any competition for McManus this offseason. He finished as the K17 last year, connecting on 26 of 31 field goals and 33 of 34 extra points. He is generally reliable and plays half his games in the high altitude of Denver, so he's worth rostering in most leagues.
Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz completed 10-of-13 passes for 74 yards with no turnovers in Saturday's loss to the Carolina Panthers. The newly acquired quarterback kept most passes close to the line of scrimmage while spreading targets around to multiple receivers. Before his substitution, Wentz led a 14-play, 82-yard drive to give the Commanders their first touchdown. While decision-making has been an issue for the former No.2 overall pick as of late, this performance provides some hope for what he has to offer in his seventh NFL season. Wentz is a borderline QB2 and is mainly an option in superflex league formats.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Kendall Hinton hauled in three of four targets for 53 yards during Saturday's preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. His best play was a gorgeous 24-yard touchdown reception in which Josh Johnson placed the football perfectly and Hinton tracked it well before catching it in the end zone. The 25-year-old Wake Forest product is expected to make the roster in 2022, filling a special teams role while offering depth at wide receiver in the wake of Tim Patrick's ACL tear. Last year, he hauled in 15 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Seth Williams turned four targets into four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown during Saturday's preseason victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Williams spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad, though he did appear in two games, hauling in his lone target for a 34-yard catch. He is competing for a roster spot as training camp continues and hopes to offer depth to a unit that recently lost Tim Patrick (ACL).
Los Angeles Rams quarterbackBryce Perkinscompleted 10-of-17 passes for 133 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in the Rams' 29-22 preseason win over the Los Angeles Chargers. He added 39 yards on the ground on eight rush attempts for one touchdown. Perkins, who is third on the depth chart behind John Wolford and Matthew Stafford, started and played the whole game. In 2021, Perkins also played the entirety of the final two preseason games. The Rams signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2020 after setting the career University of Virginia record for total offense. While he spent most of 2020 and 2021 on the practice squad, Perkins will suit up as the backup if Stafford's shoulder injury causes him to miss games.
Denver Broncos quarterback Josh Johnson completed 16 of 23 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns during Saturday's preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. He also rushed for three yards. Johnson is competing to be the Broncos' backup quarterback and has now played for 15 NFL teams in 13 years, not to mention his time in the UFL, AAF, and XFL. The 36-year-old appeared in four games for the Ravens last season, completing 67.1 percent of his passes for 639 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions. Even if he wins a roster spot, he has no fantasy relevance.
Denver Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien completed just eight of 18 pass attempts for 113 yards during Saturday's preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Josh Johnson played the first half while Rypien handled the second half. The 26-year-old hasn't seen meaningful snaps since 2020, when he completed 27 of 40 passes for 295 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions.
Los Angeles Rams running backJake Funkrushed for 16 yards on six carries in Saturday's 29-22 preseason victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. He also caught one pass for ten yards on two targets. Funk, who is third on the depth chart, was the starter at running back and left the game after two drives. He finished with fewer carries and yards than fellow running backsRaymond Calaisand A.J. Rose but more thanTrey Ragas. With Rams head coach Sean McVay typically keeping his starters off the field during preseason, Funk will have more opportunities in the next two preseason games against the Texans and Bengals.
Miami Dolphins linebacker Darius Hodge stripped Kyle Trask during Saturday's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then, fellow linebacker Sam Eguavoen scooped up the loose football and returned it for a 32-yard touchdown. Miami's defense had an impressive 2021 season, racking up 48 sacks, 12 fumble recoveries, 14 interceptions, and five touchdowns. The unit should be viewed in high regard in 2022, and they should be rostered in most leagues.
Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders went 4-for-4 on field goals and 2-for-2 on extra points during Saturday's preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sanders has the kicking job secured, so Miami didn't feel the need to bring in any competition. After an underwhelming first half to the 2021 season, Sanders looked better in the second half of the year. Still, he finished the campaign with a concerning 23-for-31 rate of success on field goals. He hit 34 of 35 extra points in the process. Fantasy kickers should be assessed based on skill and the success of their offense. With Miami trending up, Sanders might be worth rostering in larger leagues.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rashard Higgins, a new addition to the team's receiving corps, hauled in all three of his targets for 22 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's preseason win over the Washington Commanders. He scored on an eight-yard dime from quarterbackSam Darnoldin the first quarter. The Panthers haveD.J. MooreandRobbie Andersonlisted as starters on their first 2022 depth chart, so Higgins will be competing with second-year wideoutTerrace Marshall Jr.to be the team's WR3. Higgins, however, has been flashing in camp and has existing chemistry withBaker Mayfieldfrom their four years together in Cleveland. He is not a worthwhile selection in redraft fantasy football leagues. Still, he has had fantasy-relevant games in the past, making him an option in deep-league formats regardless of the starting quarterback.
Carolina Panthers running backSpencer Brownhandled 10 carries for 36 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's preseason opener against the Washington Commanders. He spent most of the 2021 season on Carolina's practice squad but looked determined to make the roster on Saturday with a couple of bulldozing runs.Chuba Hubbardwas the backup running back last season and ultimately disappointed fantasy managers in superstarChristian McCaffrey's absence. The team also addedD'Onta Foreman, who filled in admirably for an injuredDerrick Henryin Tennessee last year. There are quite a few hurdles for Brown to overcome if he hopes to get a shot this season, but he may see the field as part of a running back committee if McCaffrey were to miss time.
Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers connected on his only field goal attempt and went 2-for-2 in extra-point tries in Saturday's 32-25 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 31-year-old is one of the more accurate kickers in the NFL, featuring an 84.7% career average on field goal attempts and 90.2% on extra points. He was his usual self in Saturday's preseason opener against the Steelers and was perfect in all his attempts. Myers is a reliable kicker that the Seahawks will no doubt lean on again this season, but Seattle's offense is projected to be one of the bottom offenses in the league in 2022, making him mainly a streaming option in most fantasy leagues.
Carolina Panthers quarterbackSam Darnoldcompleted two of three passes for 16 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's 23-21 preseason victory over the Washington Commanders. Darnold saw the field afterBaker Mayfieldstarted the game and led the offense to a field goal on its opening drive.Rashard Higginswas on the receiving end of Darnold's touchdown pass, which was a perfectly-placed ball thrown while under pressure in the red zone. Mayfield and Darnold are currently competing in camp for the starting job, but it's been reported that the job is Mayfield's to lose. Anything can happen if Darnold impresses in the preseason, but neither player is worth drafting in one-quarterback fantasy football leagues.
Carolina Panthers quarterbackPJ Walkercompleted 10-of-19 passes for 136 yards while rushing for 12 yards in the team's preseason opener against the Washington Commanders. He started one game for Carolina last season whileSam Darnoldwas injured, but with the team addingBaker Mayfieldand third-round rookieMatt Corralthis offseason, his chances of making the roster have seemed bleak. It was a solid showing from Walker, who played ahead of Corral interestingly. It appears as though the Panthers' entire quarterback room is in flux, and it's hard to know who will remain come Week 1. If Darnold were to be traded, it is certainly possible that Walker would be the primary backup for the Panthers this season.
Carolina Panthers third-round draft selection Matt Corralcompleted just one of nine passes for 11 yards and added six yards rushing in his preseason debut against the Washington Commanders. The rookie was the fourth and final Carolina quarterback to see the field, which is a bit concerning. He saw fewer snaps thanPJ Walker, who played for Panthers head coach Matt Rhule at Temple but has produced very little in his two seasons as a pro. Perhaps the Panthers will ramp up Corral's opportunities in the coming weeks. Nonetheless, Corral failed to impress in his time on the field Saturday and will need to show the team something this preseason to avoid being buried on the depth chart.
Seattle Seahawks running backDeeJay Dallas rushed for 73 yards on 10 rushing attempts while catching one pass for 17 yards in Saturday's 32-25 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a fourth-round draft pick in 2020 but has been unable to carve out a role in his career thus far. Homer was mainly featured in the receiving game, but Dallas paced the team in rushing during Saturday's preseason opener, finishing with 73 yards on the ground. With Rashaad Penny(groin) still sidelined, Dallas will continue to get opportunities and could make an impact early in the season if Penny isn't ready by Week 1, limiting the upside for both Penny andKenneth Walker III.
Seattle Seahawks running backTravis Homer rushed for 41 yards on four attempts while catching two passes for 33 yards in Saturday's 32-25 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 24-year-old has familiarity with the system and coaching staff. Homer was mainly featured in the receiving game when thrust into action but received work on all three downs in Saturday's preseason opener. Homer was second on the Seahawks with 41 rushing yards behind only DeeJay Dallas (73), and most of his yardage came on a 16-yard run. Having already earned the trust of head coach Pete Carroll, it's possible Homer could see more work than anticipated to open the season, especially if Rashaad Penny(groin) is still sidelined. This would cap the upside for Penny and rookieKenneth Walker III.
Seattle Seahawks quarterbackDrew Lockcompleted 11-of-15 pass attempts for 102 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions while rushing once for three yards during Saturday's 32-25 preseason loss to Pittsburgh Steelers. He is attempting to come in and overtakeGeno Smithas the team's starter. Lock was brought in as part of theRussell Wilson trade with the Denver Broncos earlier in the offseason. He's been reported to be behind Smith in camp but did well to earn consideration in Saturday's preseason contest, completing 73% of his passes and accounting for Seattle's two passing touchdowns. The 25-year-old did commit a fumble, which was the only turnover by either quarterback. Overall, this was a positive outing for Lock, but it seems unlikely to propel him ahead of Smith at this point.
Seattle Seahawks quarterbackGeno Smithcompleted 10-of-15 passes for 101 yards, adding two carries for nine yards and a touchdown on the ground in Saturday's 32-25 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He finds himself knee-deep in a camp battle with fellow quarterbackDrew Lock. Smith was first on the field in Saturday's preseason opener, which featured a starting unit without its star receiver duo but did include tight endNoah Fantand running backKenneth Walker III. He played the entire first half, capping off his final drive with a two-yard rushing touchdown. The Seahawks stuck to their run-heavy approach, limiting the completions for Smith and Lock. Smith still seems to have the upper hand, but this performance is unlikely to solidify that role.