NFL News & Analysis

NFL Preseason Week 1 Game Recap: Los Angeles Rams 29, Los Angeles Chargers 22

Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins (16) throws the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A solid showing from Los Angeles Rams third-string quarterback Bryce Perkins and a breakout performance from undrafted rookie wide receiver Lance McCutcheon made the difference as the Rams won the City of Angels preseason showdown over the Chargers 29-22.

Editor’s note: All grades in this article are subject to review. All PFF player grades will be finalized by 12 pm ET tomorrow.


LOS ANGELES RAMS

QUARTERBACK

  • Third-stringer Bryce Perkins went the distance with Matthew Stafford and John Wolford sitting out the Rams’ first preseason game. Perkins asserted himself well on the ground and through the air with seven carries for 42 yards with a rushing touchdown while going 10-of-17 for 133 yards with two passing touchdowns.
  • Perkins finished with a 4.8% big-time throw rate and didn’t have a turnover-worthy play. He did throw an interception, but it was called back by defensive pass interference.

RUNNING BACK

  • The Rams sat Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson and rookie Kyren Williams, leaving Jake Funk to start. He carried the ball six times for 16 yards, picked up 10 yards after contact and forced one missed tackle.
  • A.J. Rose, a 2021 undrafted free agent out of Kentucky, scored one of the Rams’ four touchdowns on the night but carried the ball eight times for just 19 yards. However, of those 19 yards, 21 came after contact, and he forced two missed tackles.

RECEIVERS

  • WR Tutu Atwell, named in PFF’s training camp risers piece, dressed but didn’t play.
  • WR Lance McCutcheon, an undrafted free agent out of Montana State who has good size at 6-foot-3, 203 pounds and was easily the biggest “winner” of the game, caught five passes from six targets for 87 yards with 60- and 11-yard touchdown receptions. He also drew a pass interference penalty and overall showed strong hands and body control down the field. He hauled in three-of-three contested targets and forced two missed tackles.

OFFENSIVE LINE

  • Offensive tackle Alaric Jackson, a 2021 undrafted free agent out of Iowa, allowed four pressures on 22 pass-blocking snaps but earned a 70.9 initial grade as a run blocker.
  • Guard Chandler Brewer, who’s competing for an interior offensive line spot, didn’t allow a single pressure on 16 pass-blocking snaps.

DEFENSIVE LINE

  • Bobby Brown went down with a painful ankle injury early in the fourth quarter. He sacked Chargers QB Chase Daniel in the first quarter, and that was his only pressure on 12 pass-rush snaps.
  • Keir Thomas, an undrafted rookie edge defender out of Florida State, earned a 72.5 pass-rush grade and generated one hurry on seven pass-rush snaps.

LINEBACKER

  • Jake Hummel was the Rams’ top-graded defender on first review with an 81.0 mark. He played 46 snaps on the night and wasn’t targeted in coverage.
  • Jake Gervase allowed six catches on six targets but only let up 33 yards in coverage. He finished with six defensive stops.

SECONDARY

  • Rookie sixth-round pick cornerback Derion Kendrick only allowed one catch on three targets for four yards. He also forced an incompletion.
  • Undrafted rookie safety Daniel Isom picked off Chargers QB Easton Stick on the final competitive play of the game. He otherwise wasn’t targeted on 14 coverage snaps.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

QUARTERBACK

  • Chase Daniel started with Justin Herbert spending the game on the sidelines in street clothes and completed 11-of-17 passes for 117 yards with two touchdowns, but the box score doesn’t tell the full story. He finished with a 5.9% big-time throw rate and 10.5% turnover-worthy play rate.
  • Easton Stick went 16-of-23 for 119 yards with an interception but also ran twice for 6 yards with a score. He didn’t make any big-time throws.

RUNNING BACK

  • Joshua Kelley, who was named one of our training camp risers, was the first running back on the field as he competes with Larry Rountree and rookie Isaiah Spiller for the all-important backup job behind Austin Ekeler. He carried the ball three times for 16 yards, eight of which came after contact. He also caught three passes on three targets for 28 yards.
  • Spiller carried the ball 10 times for 34 yards and caught one pass on one target for 10 yards. The rookie forced one missed tackle, and 24 of his 34 yards came after contact.

RECEIVERS

  • Joe Reed, a 2020 fifth-round pick out of Virginia, caught four passes on five targets for 61 yards with a 41-yard touchdown reception.
  • Michael Bandy was a favorite target of Chargers QBs and caught seven passes on 11 targets for 73 yards with a touchdown from Daniel. He picked up 27 yards after the catch and forced one missed tackle.
  • Josh Palmer, the Chargers’ 2021 third-round pick, didn’t catch a pass on four targets and 14 snaps.

OFFENSIVE LINE

  • Rookie first-round pick guard Zion Johnson didn’t allow a pressure on 12 pass-blocking snaps in his NFL preseason debut.
  • Storm Norton and Trey Pipkins are in the midst of a battle to see who will start at right tackle. Norton didn’t allow a pressure on 10 pass-blocking snaps and was the winner on the night while Pipkins let up a hurry on nine pass-blocking snaps.

DEFENSIVE LINE

  • Veteran defensive lineman Morgan Fox registered two pressures – a QB hit and a hurry – and a 50% win rate on eight pass-rush snaps.
  • Not a great sign to see 2019 first-round pick Jerry Tillery play in this game. He didn’t generate a pressure or run stop on 12 defensive snaps.

LINEBACKER

  • Damon Lloyd finished the game with an 81.8 PFF grade after first review and registered three defensive stops. He wasn’t targeted on 14 coverage snaps.
  • Cole Christiansen played 36 defensive snaps and earned a 68.1 overall grade on first pass.

SECONDARY

  • CB Asante Samuel Jr., CB Michael Davis and S Nasir Adderley were among notable Chargers defenders to play Saturday night. Samuel didn’t allow a catch on 12 coverage snaps, but he was penalized for defensive pass interference.
  • CB Deane Leonard struggled, allowing two catches on three targets for 65 yards with a touchdown. He was penalized twice, once for kick catch interference and again for defensive pass interference.
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