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.
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.
Seattle Seahawks rookie running backKenneth Walker IIIrushed the ball five times for 19 yards, adding one reception for 11 yards in Saturday's 32-25 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is currently the team's starter, whileRashaad Penny(groin) is sidelined. Walker made his debut in Saturday's preseason opener against the Steelers, delivering a mostly average performance, with only seven yards coming after contact. The rookie running back was outperformed by teammatesDeeJay Dallas, who totaled 73 rushing yards, andTravis Homer, who totaled 41 rushing yards, both of whom are a threat until Walker has established himself. Seattle will lean on its rushing attack, so he'll have plenty of opportunities, but it would provide a boost in confidence if he can produce a more standout performance in their next game against the Chicago Bears.
New Orleans Saints quarterbackAndy Dalton completed all five attempts for 51 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's 17-13 loss to the Houston Texans. He drew the start in the Saints' first preseason game with Jameis Winston inactive due to a sprained foot. The 34-year-old looked sharp and connected with Dwayne Washington for a nine-yard touchdown. He is expected to be the Saints' backup quarterback behind Winston. If Winston's injury history acts up as it did in Tampa Bay, the switch to Dalton should not be a big hit to the wide receivers or running backs in fantasy production this season.
New Orleans Saints running back Dwayne Washingtonturned nine rushes into 19 yards while adding three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's 17-13 loss to the Houston Texans. He had a strong preseason showing, catching a nine-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton while compiling 21 yards after contact. Washington will look to make a more significant impact this year. Washington is fighting for a spot on the running back depth chart behind Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. The seventh-year back looks to capitalize on a new opportunity with new head coach Dennis Allen. Washington should see more run in the preseason whileKamara'slegal situation works itself out.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Khalil Shakir was able to make some noise during Saturday's preseason matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. The rookie wideout hauled in all five of his targets for 92 yards in the victory. Earlier this offseason, the Bills mentioned Shakir was doing extremely well during training camp. He was a fifth-round pick, but could very well play above his draft status. Sadly for Shakir, the Bills do have plenty of depth at wide receiver. At the end of the day, he'll likely be the 4th or 5th option, assuming the Bills can stay healthy. He could be worth stashing in dynasty formats, but Shakir probably won't be someone worth looking at right away. Although, the Bills will find a way to get him involved, assuming he continues playing this well.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins saw significant action during Saturday's preseason matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. The 23-year-old saw a team-high 11 targets during the victory over Indy. Hodgins managed to haul in nine receptions for 77 yards, which is a solid day for him. The former sixth-round pick is currently buried on the depth chart. However, Hodgins could very well move himself up quickly, assuming he continues to play like this. Regardless, it's highly unlikely that Hodgins finds himself with regular playing time in Buffalo. At the moment, he can be ignored in fantasy formats, but could have value down the line.
Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines saw plenty of action during Saturday's preseason matchup against the Buffalo Bills. The 25-year-old rushed eight times for 26 yards and hauled in two receptions for an additional 13 yards. The reps were there for Hines, but he failed to make much of an impact in this one. Fellow running back Phillip Lindsay rushed for 24 yards on five carries during this game. The two of them are competing for the backup role behind Jonathan Taylor. The expectation is that Lindsay will get the ground work, while Hines does the pass catching. That being said, fantasy managers in PPR leagues are better off with Hines over Lindsay right now.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Cedrick Wilson hauled in all three of his targets for a total of 29 receiving yards during Saturday's preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Lured away from Dallas in the past free agency period, Wilson, 26, caught 45 passes for 602 yards and four touchdowns in 2022. He also had value in the rushing attack and on special teams. His versatility propelled him to a WR46 finish last season, but he likely won't see similar results this coming year in a new offense.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger put together a fairly solid performance during Saturday's preseason matchup against the Buffalo Bills. The 23-year-old completed 10-of-11 passing attempts for 88 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Earlier this offseason, there were some rumors that Ehlinger could be the starter for the Colts. Those reports are now long gone with Matt Ryan in town. It appears Ehlinger will be battling with Nick Foles for the backup gig in Indy. Neither player is expected to be relevant in fantasy leagues with Ryan healthy.
Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin rushed four times for 27 yards during Saturday's preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His first carry came on the final play of the first half, and then he toted the rock thrice more at the start of the third quarter. Gaskin could be losing a grasp on his role in the offense after the new coaching staff brought in Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, and Sony Michel this past offseason. One could argue that his production has been decreasing ever since he totaled just 612 rushing yards, 234 receiving yards, and seven total touchdowns last season. Without a clear role or guaranteed roster spot, Gaskin should be avoided in most fantasy drafts.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. hauled in three of four targets for 55 yards and a touchdown during Saturday's preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Originally drafted by the Raiders in 2020, Bowden was dealt to the Dolphins before he could even play a snap in Las Vegas. He caught 28 passes for 211 yards as a rookie but missed all of last season due to injury. Assuming he continues to play well in training camp and the preseason, Bowden could be fighting for the fourth-string role in Miami. It's also possible that he's traded again before rosters trim down.