LA Rams vs Cincinnati Bengals: Winners and Losers in the preseason finale

The Los Angeles Rams lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 16-7 in their 2022 preseason finale and Sean McVay must now trim his roster from 80 to 53 with the Buffalo Bills on deck in less than two weeks.

Bryce Perkins played his fifth full preseason game in the last two years, finishing with a respectable afternoon behind weak play by the offensive line but ultimately unable to help the Rams score enough points. Los Angeles failed to score a point until early in the fourth quarter and the Rams’ defense was eaten alive by Cincinnati’s quarterbacks:

Brandon Allen, a former Rams QB, went 11-of-15 for 130 yards and third-stringer Jake Browning went 19-of-24 for 173 yards and a touchdown.

But LA has their own preseason offensive star, maybe the biggest star of any player in the NFL this preseason, as Lance McCutcheon added more nails to somebody else’s coffin with his third straight dominant performance.

These are the winners and losers (and a winner/loser) from Saturday.

Winners

WR Lance McCutcheon

If he were playing for another team, McCutcheon might be able to start at wide receiver this year. The Rams’ undrafted free agent steal had five catches for 76 yards on Saturday. He finished the preseason with 15 catches for 259 yards.

DL Jonah Williams

There has been little doubt that Williams is going to make the final 53-man roster. Who knows, maybe Sean McVay has a surprise in store. But Williams made the roster last year and he’s consistently blowing up offensive lines in preseason, including this week, solidifying his place on the team.

LB Keir Thomas

Thomas got the start and he’s pushing hard to be in the conversation as a rotational piece on the edges, in the future, if not now. Thomas had two tackles for a loss, including a sack, in the first quarter alone. He had another huge TFL in the second quarter. Thomas is in, right?

LB Jake Hummel

He could be the next man up after Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones.

OT Max Pircher

The International Pathway Program player made his NFL debut late in the game—and looked pretty good while doing it! He won’t make the final roster but should be a practice squad exemption and who knows, could make his regular season debut one day soon.

DL Michael Hoecht

Added a sack of his own on Saturday. The Rams look stocked along the defensive line and that’s even without Bobby Brown III, who will spend the first six games on the suspension list.

QB John Wolford

Even without playing, Wolford looked more like the true backup on Saturday than Bryce Perkins did.

Wally Scalidge/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

DB Grant Haley

Haley is among those who would need to make the roster on special teams and he had a perfect tackle as a gunner on punt coverage in the third quarter.

RB Kyren Williams

Solidified as RB3 by not playing? We could have expected as such.

Losers

RB Jake Funk

Funk got the opportunity to start this game and to be the number one ball-carrier for the Rams, but he lost a fumble early in the second quarter that ended a 66-yard drive at the Bengals 5.

CB Duron Lowe / CB Cobie Durant

Lowe dropped an easy interception and those are the types of opportunities that if nothing else, get your attention for a practice squad spot or waiver claim by another team.

Durant gave up a long reception and he got beat bad on the play.

G Chandler Brewer / OL Bobby Evans

Gave up an ugly sack in the third quarter, leading to a 17-yard loss and a punt. On the same play, Bobby Evans came up limping on his way to the sidelines. Evans and Brewer are two veteran offensive linemen just trying to make the team as reserves and this play was bad for both.

Special Teams

Trent Taylor took Riley Dixon’s first punt back 31 yards up the sideline.

Winner&Loser

QB Bryce Perkins

Is Bryce Perkins the guy who can step in for Matthew Stafford if the Rams need a quarterback in the second half of a regular season game or to start multiple contests during the season? That was not evident on Saturday and although Perkins is an above-average preseason quarterback, I don’t think he’s ever played like a starting NFL Sunday quarterback. It’s a band-aid, not a permanent solution.

The Rams struggled to find the end zone and did not score their first points until Perkins ran in a short touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it a 9-7 game.

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