The Los Angeles Rams surrendered their lead to the Houston Texans in the final minutes of their second game of the 2022 preseason. Bryce Perkins and Lance McCutcheon linked up once again to move the ball downfield, but ultimately the clock wound down and the comeback attempt fell just short - Houston took home the victory 24-20.
While the Texans’ starting offense couldn’t get much going against the Rams’ reserve defense in the first half, the second half was filled with several exciting plays and individual contributions. Here’s who stood out Friday evening, either in a positive or negative way:
John Wolford, QB
This was our first look at Wolford in live action since the 2020 wildcard game. While it wasn’t always pretty Friday night versus Houston, it’s fair to point out that Wolford was dealing with a high degree of difficulty - he was playing against mostly the Texan’s starting defense and the Rams’ offensive line afforded him very little time to work through his progressions.
Despite spending most of the first half running for his life, Wolford still managed to complete 14 of 22 passes for 142 yards. He was also sacked 5 times, but his mobility kept a number of other plays alive. He did well enough in this game considering the circumstances - and he’s earned confidence should he need to play with the Rams’ first team offensive unit for a short period.
Not to be dramatic (because it's the preseason) but I'm not really sure how you can truly evaluate John Wolford after that first half. Five sacks. What worked: McCutcheon connection and pressure-beater throws/catch-and-run to Calais. Hopkins looks solid as well.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 20, 2022
Lance McCutcheon, WR
McCutcheon set a high bar for himself after an 87-yard and 2 TD performance last week against the LA Chargers, but he impressed again versus the Texans - hauling in 5 receptions for 96 yards. Perhaps his most notable play of the night came against the number three overall selection in this year’s draft, Derek Stingley. It’s getting more and more difficult to stash McCutcheon on the practice squad, especially considering he’s making plays against elite-level prospects at corner.
Lance McCutcheon: 1— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) August 20, 2022
Derek Stingley Jr.: 0 pic.twitter.com/HMsSni69am
Jonah Williams, IDL
It’s not certain whether Williams is a lock to make the initial 53-man roster for LA, but he’s been a solid depth piece on both the defensive line and on special teams the last couple of years.
Williams has flashed as a pass rusher in both preseason games so far, and his physical sack on Davis Mills forced the ball out. It’s a heavy competition among the depth pieces on the defensive line, but Williams has proved he’s an NFL player during his limited opportunities.
This is funny hearing Raheem Morris live on air react to the sack fumble by Jonah Williams pic.twitter.com/qXkP5Pq2cZ— Billy M (@BillyM_91) August 20, 2022
Bryce Perkins, QB
Wolford was probably the better Rams quarterback on Friday night, after taking into account he was playing against most of the Texans’ starters - but Bryce Perkins was still stellar and he was better as a passer in this game compared to the first preseason contest.
Perkins played the entirety of the second half and finished 11 of 13 for 122 yards. He was sacked only once, though that total could easily have been much higher if it weren’t for his impressive ability to evade rushers.
This was probably Perkins’ most well-rounded performance so far as a Ram.
Brycen Hopkins, TE
With the Rams quarterbacks under constant duress, Hopkins seemed to be the underneath outlet and check down option. Wolford and Perkins looked his way often - and he caught all 6 of his targets for 41 yards. His longest reception was 11 yards.
It’s encouraging to see Hopkins handle a high volume of passes, and it seems he’s taking a step forward in year three after being one of the offensive heroes of Super Bowl LVI.
Robert Rochell, Decobie Durant, Derion Kendrick; CB
This trio of young corners has impressed all training camp. They each played 15-16 snaps in last week’s game, and they played even more against Houston - living up to the hype and the high bar they’ve established for themselves.
Most NFL teams find themselves wishing they had four or five solid corners this time of year, but the Rams truly have between five to six capable players at the position. It’s a champagne problem, but how do you leverage each player heading into the regular season and make sure they are getting the reps they need at this stage in their development?
Kyren Williams, RB
Williams was suited up and participating in pre-game warmups, but he didn’t see the field in game action. Does this mean that he’s solidly ahead of Jake Funk on the depth chart at this point, or is the team be cautious as he continues his rehab from the foot injury he suffered during OTA’s? With Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson both nursing injuries, you can’t fault LA for taking it slowly with the rookie back.
Sean McVay has continued to mention his name as a potentially important offensive piece, so perhaps the Rams have already seen enough to keep him around on the 53-man roster.
Keir Thomas, EDGE
Thomas was the team’s best edge defender in the first preseason game, and he made a strong argument for that position again Friday night. Daniel Hardy recorded a sack and played much earlier in the game, but Thomas continues to flash as a pass rusher. He may be on the unfortunate end of a numbers game, though it seems he’s making the most of what he can control.
Thomas had a strip sack on Jeff Driskel that probably won’t end up in the box score because Driskel recovered the ball and scrambled for 15 or so yards.
Keir Thomas nearly had a strip-sack, but Driskel maintains possession and then scrambles for like 15-ish yards— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) August 20, 2022
Jake Hummel, Jake Gervais; MLB
Hummel was once again the team’s leading tackler. We have not yet seen Christian Rozeboom this preseason, which likely indicates he’s landed safely on the regular season roster as a defensive depth piece and special teams contributor. With Travin Howard still out with injury, there could be room to keep one of either Hummel or Gervais. They’ve both been solid in the two exhibition games.
Matt Gay, K
Matt Gay had everything to lose and nothing to gain from the preseason, but he made both field goal attempts and converted both of his extra point opportunities anyway. His longest field goal was from 43-yards out. Check.
Logan Bruss, OG
Bruss continued to struggle mightily in pass protection, and he left the game early with a knee injury. The offensive line seemed to improve once he left the game - in terms of both opening run lanes and allowing QB’s time to throw.
It’s a positive that Coleman Shelton has seized the opportunity to start at RG because Bruss seems far from ready to take the reigns.
Raymond Calais, AJ Rose, Trey Ragas; RB
There’s clearly a well-established pecking order among the top four running backs - Akers, Henderson, Williams, and Funk are almost certainly locks to make the regular season roster.
That means there’s almost no shot for Calais, Rose, or Ragas to make this team, and they’ve done little (outside of goal line carries) to set themselves apart. At least Calais is able to return punts and kicks on special teams, which gives him hope of making another team’s roster.
Roger Carter, TE
In the early days of training camp it seemed Carter had as good of a chance as any undrafted rookie to make the initial 53. He’s played well on special teams (recovering a fumble and taking it back for a touchdown in this game, for example) and as a blocker - though he’s provided little utility as a pass catcher. He’d previously been tagged as someone who could play fullback, but the team hasn’t used him in such a capacity this preseason.