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The preseason is more about players developing and coaches learning about their team than it is about winning and losing. The Rams are certainly trying to look at it that way after losing their second straight preseason game, falling 17-16 to the Raiders on Saturday night.
There were a bunch of standout players for the Rams despite the loss, however. Bryce Perkins and Chris Garrett were two guys who really shined against the Raiders on each side of the ball, nearly helping lift the Rams to victory in dramatic fashion.
Here are our studs and duds from Saturday’s loss at SoFi Stadium.
Stud: Chris Garrett
Garrett was an absolute monster against the Raiders. On one second-quarter drive alone, he had a 6-yard tackle for a loss, a tipped pass at the line, split a sack with Jonah Williams and had a strip-sack on third down. He also hit the quarterback a couple of drives later, hurrying him into a bad throw. The Division II product had a huge game at the perfect time, catching the eye of the coaching staff as he battles for a roster spot.
Stud: Bryce Perkins
Perkins played the entire game at quarterback over Duck Hodges, and deservedly so. He helped carry the Rams offense, especially late in the game, making key plays with his legs down the stretch. He also showed off impressive accuracy and decision-making, going through his reads and allowing his receivers to make plays. His run on fourth down in the red zone with under two minutes to play was especially impressive, avoiding a sack and picking up the first. He then hit Jacob Harris for a touchdown with 14 seconds to play, but the two-point attempts failed.
Stud: J.R. Reed
Reed simply finds the football, especially in coverage. In the first half alone, he made one tackle, broke up a pass and picked off another. Reed is particularly good in man coverage when matched up on tight ends, forcing the quarterback to throw into tight windows. His interception was the result of Garrett tipping the pass at the line, but he made a great play on his other pass breakup covering an out-breaking route by the tight end.
Stud: Tremayne Anchrum
It wasn’t a perfect night from the second-year player, but he looked good at right tackle before getting hurt in the third quarter. He was called for illegal use of hands and holding, but Anchrum held up well against the Raiders’ edge rushers. It’s unfortunate that he got hurt, since he was one of the Rams’ best offensive linemen in this game.
Stud: JuJu Hughes
Hughes looks so comfortable out there in the secondary. On the first drive, he broke on a pass to the outside, nearly intercepting it on third down after undercutting the receiver. He then made a nice tackle in the red zone on Derek Carrier after the tight end made a catch in the flat, tackling him for only a 2-yard gain.
Stud: Ernest Jones
Jones was all over the field in the first half, making five tackles relatively quickly to lead the team at halftime. He made a good tackle in the hole early on, then ranged toward the sideline on an outside run by the Raiders. Jones doesn’t look like the game is too fast for him as he transitions from college to the NFL, which is a great sign for the rookie.
Stud: Jake Funk
Funk was the Rams’ best running back tonight. He started the game and showed some great burst through the hole, playing with good decisiveness when reading his blockers. He had runs of 12 yards, 14 yards and 19 yards throughout the game, totaling 56 yards on the night. He was also rock solid in pass protection, at one point picking up a blitz to allow Perkins to take a deep shot to Tutu Atwell down the left side.
Stud: Matt Gay
For the first time since high school, Gay handled punting duties after the Rams placed both Johnny Hekker and Corey Bojorquez on the reserve/COVID-19 list before the game. He looked comfortable in the role, averaging 42 yards per punt. He also made a field goal, an extra point and booted all three of his kickoffs for touchbacks. In a difficult spot, Gay stepped up. He did have a field goal blocked, however.
Stud: J.J. Koski
Koski was Bryce Perkins’ Cooper Kupp in this game, consistently getting open on third down in the middle of the field. He caught eight passes for 61 yards, picking up multiple first downs despite never really breaking off a big play. It’s hard to say he’s going to make the team, but Koski is at least pushing to stick around on the practice squad.
Dud: Bobby Evans
Evans was called for holding on what would’ve been a third-down conversion early in the game, looked overmatched by the Raiders’ interior rushers and allowed a free runner in the third quarter after not blocking anyone on a key third-down play. It’s becoming clear that the reason the Rams inserted Brian Allen at center and moved Austin Corbett to guard is the play of Evans. He’s not ready to start yet, struggling against the Raiders’ backups.
Dud: Raymond Calais
Calais didn’t get many opportunities to contribute in this one, especially considering he got hurt in the third quarter on a screen pass that was called back due to a penalty on Brycen Hopkins. Calais carried it three times for 5 yards and muffed a punt, which didn’t officially count because of a questionable penalty on the Raiders that didn’t hinder his ability to field the punt.
Dud: Donovan Olumba
Olumba is fighting for a roster spot but he didn’t help himself on Saturday night. He didn’t make any plays in coverage and was beat badly by Marcell Ateman for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, biting on a double move. His chances of making the team just went down because of his performance against the Raiders.