NFL Preseason Week 1 Game Recap: Los Angeles Chargers 34, Los Angeles Rams 17

2RH1A91 Los Angeles Chargers' Derius Davis (12) celebrates with teammates after returning a punt for a touchdown during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams rested the large majority of their offensive and defensive starters for this game, and as a result, both offenses took some time to get going. Eventually, after some field goals and a great punt return touchdown, the Chargers, specifically, found much more success offensively, leading to the win. 


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Offensive spotlight: Quarterback Easton Stick started for the Chargers and played the entire first half. Stick targeted rookie first-round pick Quentin Johnston heavily throughout the half, including on a deep pass down the sideline about 45 yards through the air that went right through the hands of the TCU product. Fortunately, the next time the duo connected on a pass, it went for an eight-yard touchdown near the end of the half.

The Chargers' run game averaged 6.9 yards per carry as they put up 214 yards on the ground, resulting in two rushing touchdowns from 2023 UDFA rookie running back Elijah Dotson. Dotson posted 92 yards on the ground, averaging 15.3 yards per carry thanks to both of his touchdowns going for over 35 yards each.

Defensive spotlight: The Rams’ defensive line lackx established starters, which leaves plenty of opportunities for depth players to earn a spot on the main roster with strong play this preseason. Edge rusher Keir Thomas stood out with 1.5 sacks, both in the second half to go along with five total tackles on the day. Thomas posted 10 sacks in his final college season at Florida State, so the Rams should be happy to see him deliver some much-needed production for their defensive line this preseason. 

Rookie spotlight: Rams fourth-round rookie Stetson Bennett has reportedly impressed in camp and though he had some close calls with multiple turnover-worthy plays (unofficial), he was eventually able to get back on track and get the Rams on the scoreboard. Bennett targeted fellow Day 3 rookie Puka Nacua three times on the Rams’ lone touchdown drive of the first half, which led to two receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown. Bennett remained in the game the rest of the way finishing with 157 yards and a 54.2% completion rate.

Offensive line spotlight: Zion Johnson played his entire rookie year at right guard for the Chargers but is shifting to the left side this year, which is where he spent his entire collegiate career. Johnson played the first two offensive drives for 11 pass-blocking snaps and didn’t allow a single pressure (unofficial) for an 82.8 pass-blocking grade (unofficial).


Box Score

Passing
Los Angeles Chargers
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int
Easton Stick 9.56 14 / 21 109 5.2 1 0
Max Duggan 2.76 2 / 3 19 6.3 0 0
Los Angeles Rams
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int
Stetson Bennett 11.84 17 / 29 191 6.6 1 0
Brett Rypien 1.04 3 / 6 11 1.8 0 0
Rushing
Los Angeles Chargers
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long
Elijah Dotson 21.2 6 92 15.3 2 40
Easton Stick 9.56 2 12 6 0 7
Isaiah Spiller 5.8 5 27 5.4 0 7
Joshua Kelley 5.4 9 54 6 0 13
Larry Rountree III 2.9 5 9 1.8 0 6
Max Duggan 2.76 4 20 5 0 19
Los Angeles Rams
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long
Stetson Bennett 11.84 2 2 1 0 4
Royce Freeman 8.6 7 26 3.7 1 9
Zach Evans 3.4 8 34 4.2 0 9
Ronnie Rivers 3.1 6 31 5.2 0 15
Brett Rypien 1.04 1 6 6 0 6
Receiving
Los Angeles Chargers
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT TD
Derius Davis 10.1 2 2 21 10.5 0
Quentin Johnston 10 6 3 10 1.7 1
Keelan Doss 6.9 4 3 39 9.8 0
Isaiah Spiller 5.8 2 2 11 5.5 0
Joshua Kelley 5.4 1 0 0 0 0
Terrell Bynum 3.3 4 2 13 3.2 0
Larry Rountree III 2.9 2 1 10 5 0
Donald Parham Jr. 2.3 1 1 13 13 0
Hunter Kampmoyer 1.9 1 1 9 9 0
Tre' McKitty 1.2 1 1 2 2 0
Los Angeles Rams
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT TD
Puka Nacua 12.2 5 3 32 6.4 1
Tyler Johnson 12 7 5 70 10 0
Royce Freeman 8.6 1 0 0 0 0
Austin Trammell 7.6 4 4 36 9 0
Lance McCutcheon 4.8 6 2 28 4.7 0
Tyler Hudson 3.5 2 2 15 7.5 0
Ben Skowronek 2.7 3 2 7 2.3 0
Demarcus Robinson 1.9 1 1 9 9 0
Christian Sims 1.5 3 1 5 1.7 0
Camren McDonald 0 1 0 0 0 0

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