Bengals 16, Rams 7 Notebook: 2 Standouts for LA in Abysmal Offensive Showing

The Rams’ offense struggled mightily, but two of the team’s best preseason players remained consistent.

The Los Angeles Rams fell to 1-2 in preseason play in Saturday’s 16-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, as the team now shifts focus to the regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, Sept. 8.

The Rams had just three first downs in the first half and didn’t get on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. Additionally, two critical lost fumbles inside of Bengals territory killed any chances LA had at making things closer before the game’s final stages.

But despite few positives on offense, quarterback Bryce Perkins and undrafted rookie receiver Lance McCutcheon finished their strong preseason play on a high note.

Lance McCutcheon secured roster spot?

McCutcheon totaled five grabs (on eight targets) and 76 yards, easily pacing the team as he was Perkins’ favorite target once again. 

He showed ability to get open in the middle of the field and displayed awareness on the sideline, hauling in a 32-yard catch from Perkins on the Rams’ lone scoring drive. McCutcheon got both feet down tightly inbounds near the white line, setting the Rams up for a touchdown two plays later.

McCutcheon has now been the team’s leading receiver in all three preseason games, totaling 15 catches for 259 yards and two touchdowns. His consistent play and connection with Perkins could now officially slide him into a talented receiver room as Tuesday’s final roster cuts approach.  

Bryce Perkins added to highlight reel and QB2 résumé

Perkins found little time to throw behind a struggling offensive line, as pressure was in his face all night long. But, as he’s proved all preseason, he’s deserving of the backup quarterback spot over John Wolford based on the unteachable feel he brings to the position. 

Perkins didn’t play mistake-free by any means, but he stayed efficient as a passer, going 14 of 19 for 143 yards and rushing eight time for 33 yards. He also rushed for the team’s only touchdown. 

This touchdown was the clear highlight, as Perkins scrambled right before changing directions and running toward the left sideline for a three-yard score. 

But Perkins had a few other sneaky-good moves as well. 

He snuck a throw in to Landen Akers in the second half as two Bengal defenders were blanketing his receiver. The ball somehow wizzed in front of them right before their arms could reach it, as the pass perfectly found Akers’ hands for an eight-yard gain. 

On a throw that should have been intercepted or at least deflected, Perkins found a way to squeeze it in. 

He also had an impressive spin move that shook the shoes off the Bengals’ defense and received some “oos” from the Cincinnati crowd. 

This preseason was Perkins’ chance to win the QB2 job. And based on Wolford’s latest finger injury, he might’ve just secured that role headed into Week 1. As for the rest of the season though, that remains to be seen.  

Offensive line struggled mightily

The o-line gave Perkins little time to step into throws, as there was immediate pressure in the backfield for a large portion of the game. Even against four-man rushes, the offensive line depth proved that it needs work, something that took a major hit last week with the ACL tear of third-round rookie guard Logan Bruss. 

Perkins’ elusiveness helped avoid some sacks in the pocket, but he was still taken down two times. One of these sacks led to Perkins losing the ball on a violent fumble that the Rams recovered, but it was clear that there’s work to be done.

In the running game, Jake Funk had little room to run. He totaled 12 carries for 32 yards as he was constantly faced with a wall of defenders at most every handoff. 

The positive to take away for the o-line is that running back Trey Ragas still managed to lead the team in rushing on 11 carries for 52 yards despite not getting the start. 

The front five will obviously look much different in Week 1, but depth for that group could be a key issue to watch for this season. 

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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