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.
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.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mohamed Sanu turned three targets into three catches for 39 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday. The 32-year-old has bounced around with many teams in his career, including the Falcons, Patriots, and 49ers. Signed by Miami less than three weeks ago, Sanu will look to use his veteran presence to compete for a roster spot. Through eight games last year, he totaled 15 catches and 177 yards. Regardless of whether he makes the team or not, Sanu won't see enough playing time to deem him fantasy relevant in 2022.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Skylar Thompson took every offensive snap during Saturday's preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He ultimately completed 20 of 28 passes for 218 yards and one touchdown. The 25-year-old also scampered for 25 yards on the ground. Thompson is listed third on Miami's depth chart behind Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater, and it should stay that way unless the seventh-round pick out of Kansas State goes absolutely insane throughout the remainder of training camp and preseason games.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Justin Watson caught five passes on six targets for 45 yards and a touchdown in a 19-14 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears Saturday, Aug. 13.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett completed 13 of 15 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns in a 32-25 preseason win over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. Pickett looked good in the first preseason game of his career, playing the entire second half and throwing a game-winning touchdown with 12 seconds left on the clock. The first-round rookie also tacked on 16 rushing yards on three carries in the contest. Pickett will open the season behind expected starter Mitch Trubisky but he is likely to see some playing time in 2022 unless Trubisky puts together a dominant season under center for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens caught three of his five targets for 43 yards and a touchdown in a 32-25 preseason win over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. Pickens found the end zone on a 26-yard catch near the end of the first quarter of play. The rookie out of the University of Georgia has reportedly been starring during Steelers training camp and he showed why against Seattle on Saturday evening. Based on the early reviews, Pickens is becoming an interesting name in redraft leagues and especially in dynasty.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Giovani Bernard (ankle) won't return to the preseason game against the Miami Dolphins Saturday, Aug. 13, after suffering an ankle injury.
Pittsburgh Steelers SS Karl Joseph (ankle) exited the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks Saturday, Aug. 13, with a right ankle injury and will not return.
Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ahkello Witherspoon (shoulder) exited the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks with a shoulder injury Saturday, Aug. 13, and is questionable to return.
Carolina Panthers QBs Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold both worked with the first-team offense Saturday, Aug. 13, against the Washington Commanders. Mayfield completed 4-of-7 passes for 45 yards, and Darnold completed 2-of-3 passes for 16 yards and a touchdown.
Fantasy Spin: Mayfield got the start, but Darnold was the one with the touchdown pass to WR Rashard Higgins. This competition is likely just heating up, but Mayfield appears to have the slight lead. He should be viewed as a QB2.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed four of seven passes for 63 yards and a touchdown in his team's Saturday preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. Trubisky connected with wideout Gunner Olszewski for a 13-yard score in the first quarter while adding a four-yard run. He played on Pittsburgh's first two offensive drives before taking a seat for the rest of the evening. Trubisky has the inside track on the starting quarterback job in Pittsburgh, although his grip on the job isn't going to be very firm with first-round pick Kenny Pickett waiting in the wings. Fantasy gamers should treat Trubisky as a high-end QB3 in fantasy drafts for the upcoming season.
Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins (knee) is expected to return to practice on Monday, head coach John Harbaugh relayed to James Palmer of NFL Network. Dobbins was recently activated from the PUP list but has yet to take the field for an official practice session as the team continues to exercise caution. Dobbins missed all of 2021 with a torn ACL but, as of now, is expected to suit up come Week 1 of his age-23 season. The Ohio State product impressed as a rookie in 2020, totaling 805 rushing yards, 120 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns. He should be viewed as a mid-to-low RB2 option ahead of upcoming fantasy drafts.
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett could replace the starting quarterback (most likely Mitchell Trubisky, but possibly Mason Rudolph) in the first half of the season, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. Kaboly identified Week 4 against the Jets as a good target date for Pickett's debut since the Steelers will have extra practice coming off the Thursday night game and the Jets aren't an entirely scary opponent. He also sees Week 10 as a natural possibility since the Steelers have a Week 9 bye. "Pickett will eventually get his chance," Kaboly writes. "Over the past decade, first-round quarterbacks have almost always started a game during their rookie years." Pickett can be left on waivers in most redraft leagues for now, though he has significant appeal in dynasty formats.