INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Bryce Perkins dropped back to pass, scanned through his progressions, then saw an opening to escape the pocket and took off – on 3rd and 9, no less.
Determined to get the first down, the second-year Rams quarterback stiff-armed one defender to the ground, then hurdled another and crossed the line to gain as he landed.
"I definitely felt it," Perkins said postgame, when asked if he could feel his teammates energy when he made the hurdle. "And usually, I always tell my parents this, growing up (in) high school and Pop Warner, when they're closer, they always say they're yelling at me, 'Can you hear me? Can you hear me?' And I always say 'No, when I'm on the field usually I can't hear anything.' But after that play I heard it. It seemed like I heard everybody, everything, saw everybody. But it was awesome. It was a great energy boost and I'm glad that I could make that play for the team."
The day before Saturday night's preseason game against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium, Perkins expressed excitement about the chance to display his dual-threat skillset that had he spent the last year deploying in a practice setting as a member of the Rams' practice squad.
In their preseason opener, the 2020 undrafted free agent signee out of Virginia was able to do just that and make the most of the opportunities presented to him.
Entering the game midway through the second quarter for his first offensive snaps, Perkins capitalized on a 46-yard punt return by running back Raymond Calais that set the Rams up near midfield by leading them on their only scoring drive of the contest. Wide receiver Trishton Jackson, who repped often with Perkins during training camp at UC Irvine, hauled in a four-yard touchdown pass from Perkins at the end of the series to give the Rams a 6-3 lead late in the first half.
Though Perkins' other two offensive series of the night ended with punts, it didn't diminish what he was able to accomplish from an operational standpoint.
"I thought he did a nice job," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "I was real pleased with him. You could see he had a couple of great off-schedule plays tonight. That third-down and nine, that's definitely on SportsCenter tonight. It was exciting to be able to see. I thought the overall operation, getting in and out of the huddle, communicating some of the play call, sending the motions, mixing up your cadence. It's definitely a good positive night for (QB) Bryce (Perkins)."
Perkins, who finished 7 of 10 for 42 yards in addition to that touchdown pass, and added four carries for 23 yards, said he felt comfortable and confident out on the field Saturday night. While heading into the game it felt like he hadn't played live football in a long time, his goal was to have the last year and a half of behind-the-scenes work translate in that setting.
"I tried to stay disciplined with my feet and my eyes and make plays when they were there, and then just be decisive and everything like that," Perkins said. "I think it went pretty well."