After getting a first look at the Rams last week in their preseason opener against the Chargers, they then took part in two-day joint practice, followed by a second preseason contest — all of which was against the Raiders.
Saturday night, the game came down to the final seconds when tight end Jacob Harris secured a 2-yard touchdown reception to put the Rams within one. Coach Sean McVay then attempted a two-point conversation, targeting Harris once again but wound up falling short, resulting in a 17-16 loss to Las Vegas.
Here are the top five observations from the Rams' preseason loss to the Raiders:
QB Bryce Perkins Stays Hot
Perkins took his first NFL snap just last week, using his legs in addition to his efficient passing. While some wondered if his performance was just a one-hit-wonder, Perkins proved tonight that he's got what it takes to be considered a backup in the NFL.
Perkins completed 26 passes on 39 attempts for 208 yards, one touchdown and one interception. As a rusher, Perkins scrambled nine times, gaining 41 yards on the ground.
With Perkins stacking two solid performances together, he's going to make things difficult to be a guy the Rams can place on the practice squad. In fact, he looks a lot more like the Rams' quarterback No. 3 on the 53-man roster.
LB Chris Garrett Steals The Show
The seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Garrett flashed in multiple ways for the Rams defense on Saturday night. Specifically on one drive in the second quarter where Garrett logged a 6-yard tackle for loss, recorded half a sack alongside defensive lineman Jonah Williams, registered a pass break up and forced a strip-sack, resulting in a Raiders punt.
Garrett finished the night with four total tackles, one tackle for loss, 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, two passes defended and one forced fumble.
As Garrett looks to provide depth coming off the edge, he's picked up right where Justin Lawler left off in the preseason opener last week. Garrett showed the ability to rip and dip around offensive tackles, propelling him into the backfield with regularity.
RB Jake Funk Shows Improvements
After last week's outing where Funk collected just 12 rushing yards on five attempts, he looked like a completely different rusher in his second preseason game. As a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Funk looked like a player tonight who can pack a punch among the running back room.
Funk was the Rams leading running back, handling seven carries for 56 yards. Funk's longest of the night came on a 19-yard gain, as he showed sufficient vision and burst to break off a long one.
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With the backup running back spots up for grabs, Funk showed the poise to presumably fulfill one of the roles based on his 8-yard per carry average.
K Matt Gay Shows He Can Handle Punting Duties if Need be
Gay, the Rams kicker, was forced into handling the punting duties when the Rams placed punters Johnny Hekker and Corey Bojorquez on the COVID-19/Reserve list on Saturday.
Gay hasn't punted at all since his arrival into the NFL in 2019, nor did he in college at the University of Utah. In fact, the last time he's booted punts was in high school. However, he looked like a natural out there, connecting on four punts while averaging 42 yards apiece.
The punting situation remains up in the air with Hekker and Bojorquez in camp. While one will ultimately secure the job, it's promising for the Rams to know that if they’re put in a bind like they were tonight, that Gay can hold down the fort if need be. Huge credit to Gay for stepping up to the plate.
The Rams caught the penalty bug, committing 10 penalties for 84 yards on the night. While none of the starters played, it's still worrisome as it shows the lack of discipline with which the reserves are currently playing with.
Last week, the Rams committed just four penalties for 30 yards — a much more manageable feat.
This is something McVay will have to address with his team. Giving away 84 yards is almost a free touchdown and that's something that certainly can't occur in the regular season.
- Safety J.R. Reed provided a boost to the secondary, most notably intercepting Nathan Peterman's tipped pass. Reed finished the night with four tackles, one interception and two pass breakups.
- Tight end Jacob Harris caught two passes, with one resulting in a touchdown.
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Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel.