Bryce Perkins threw a tie-breaking 11-yard touchdown pass to undrafted rookie receiver Lance McCutcheon with six minutes, 11 seconds to play to give the Los Angeles Rams a 29-22 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday evening at SoFi Stadium in the preseason opener for both teams.
Perkins completed 10 of 17 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, including a 60-yard touchdown pass to McCutcheon, a 2021 first team All-Big Sky Conference selection from Montana State, 5:17 before halftime. Perkins also ran 1 yard for the third quarter’s only touchdown and passed to McCutcheon for a 2-point conversion that gave the Rams a 22-14 lead with 8:14 left in the quarter.
The Chargers tied the score with 13:02 remaining in the game on quarterback Easton Stick’s 3-yard run and 2-point conversion pass to tight end Hunter Kampmoyer in front of a crowd announced at 68,734 for the Chargers’ home game.
The Chargers had the ball twice after the Rams regained the lead in the fourth quarter. They punted after three plays on the first and drove to the Rams’ 20-yard line on the second, but Stick’s pass was intercepted by undrafted rookie free agent safety Daniel Isom at the 8-yard line with 27 seconds left to play for the game’s only turnover.
Stick completed 16 of 23 passes for 119 yards, all in the second half. Chase Daniel completed 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Daniel threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Joe Reed on the game’s opening possession and a 16-yard touchdown pass to Michael Bandy with 37 seconds left in the first half, tying the score, 14-14.
A.J. Rose ran 1 yard for the Rams’ other touchdown with 7:44 remaining in the second quarter, culminating a 13-play, 47-yard drive after defensive back Deane Leonard, 2022 seventh-round draft choice, was penalized 15 yards for kick catch interference.
The Chargers outgained the Rams, 312 yards to 232, including a 168-140 advantage in the first half. The Rams had 21 first downs to 20 for the Chargers and led in time of possession, 33:04-26:56. The Chargers were penalized nine times for 120 yards, the Rams twice for 10 yards.
Perkins signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2020 after playing the final two seasons of his college career at Virginia. He has not played a regular-season game in his two seasons with the Rams.
Rams coach Sean McVay does not play starters or other key players in preseason games in an attempt to avoid injuries, preferring to instead use them in joint practices where “we can mimic and emulate game-like situations while minimizing the risk of injury.”
“In some settings, the joint practices are even better because you’re able to activate things that you maybe don’t want to put on tape in the preseason,” McVay said Wednesday.