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.
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.
Lance McCutcheon should change Rams’ long-term plans at WR and maybe even any thought of signing OBJ.
— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) August 28, 2022
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.
Huge sack by Kier Thomas on third down to keep the Bengals out of the end zone. Looks like he’s ready to play today. Jonah Williams also made a nice play inside to stuff a run inside the 5.
— Rams Brothers (@RamsBrothers) August 27, 2022
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.
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.
McVay said this week that rookie RB Kyren Williams would play against the Bengals. But Williams did very well during joint practices and was out early today doing a lot of work. Might have proved too valuable to risk injury. He is in uniform on the sideline but does not have a helmet.
— Gary Klein (@LATimesklein) August 27, 2022
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.
I know Rams fans like Jake Funk, but what has he done? Spent last year hurt and that fumble in the red zone was costly.
Yet, most would fight for Funk to make the team over someone like Atwell…
— Blaine Grisak (@bgrisakDTR) August 27, 2022
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.
Rams’ DB’s are getting exposed a bit tonight. Burgess is clearly on the field for a reason. Missing Rochell in this group — but a great sign for him that he’s not playing.
— Rams Brothers (@RamsBrothers) August 27, 2022
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.
Rams have no offensive line depth, and the other thing is that we haven’t really seen their offensive line STARTERS yet with Noteboom, Shelton taking on starting roles for the first time.
— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) August 27, 2022
Trent Taylor took Riley Dixon’s first punt back 31 yards up the sideline.
Kwamie Lassiter muffs the punt. He recovers it, but it’s a brutal blow to his shot as the returner.
Trent Taylor had already established his role as the backup slot receiver. Since the Bengals won’t carry 7 wide receivers in games, he was already a huge favorite to return punts.
— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 27, 2022
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.