KANSAS CITY – Flushed out of the pocket, quarterback Bryce Perkins scrambled up the middle, then to his right as a Chiefs defensive lineman tried to bring him down.
Perkins escaped that defensive lineman's grasp, then tried to stiff arm and ward off Chiefs linebacker to keep the play alive. He escaped the linebacker's grasp, then stiff-armed a Chiefs defensive back before another Chiefs defensive back lower their shoulder and knocked him out of bounds.
The play resulted in a five-yard loss, but more importantly, it was emblematic of why Perkins' Rams teammates support him so strongly and had full confidence in him as he made his first NFL start.
"I was trying to fight for that first down," Perkins said postgame. "Knew we needed a play coming out of the half, and really just wanted to get that first down, move the drive, put points on the board for those guys. I mean, those guys were battling, so I just wanted to do my part to battle myself to keep the drive going, keep the play going."
Perkins did everything he could to keep the Rams competitive with the Chiefs on Sunday.
He ran nine times for a team-high 44 yards, including a long a 13. He completed 13 of 23 pass attempts for 100 yards and his first career touchdown. In tandem with strong redzone defense and special teams play, Perkins helped Los Angeles stay within 10 of the Chiefs at halftime, and once again early in the fourth quarter with that 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Van Jefferson.
"I thought he played great," Jefferson told theRams.com postgame. "I think he did what he was capable of doing, and the plays that he got, I think he made the most of them. And like I said, he's tough. He's a great competitor, a great guy, and we're gonna ride with him. he had great command, and you could just tell he has great leadership. So I'm proud of the way he played, and (we're) just gonna keep going."
At the same time, Perkins also knew by his own admission that there was room for improvement. He threw two interceptions and said he had a couple of procedural things to fix.
"(The communication) was good between all of us," Perkins said. "Going on, it was getting rowdy a little bit, had a couple procedure things on my part which, definitely had to clean up. Second half did a lot better job with that."
Rams head coach Sean McVay said that on the first pick, the Chiefs did a good job of being able to sink underneath the deep curl route that Jefferson ran, and that it was a good play by Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed. And on the second one, it was man coverage and the Chiefs made the pick on a tipped pass.
"Bryce did enough things in the first half to be able to keep the chains moving with his legs, a lot of third down conversions where he was just being able to scramble for it," McVay said. "Just not quite enough, but I am appreciative and grateful for what the guys did today."
Perkins will find a way to correct those mistakes, though, just as he fought to escape the grasp of multiple Chiefs defenders.
"That's just the competitiveness in me, just trying to move things forward," Perkins said. "I didn't get it, but I definitely wasn't going to go down without fighting."