INGLEWOOD, Calif. – It wasn't the highlight-reel stiff arm and hurdle sequence from Week 1, but it still kept the drive alive in epic fashion.
Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins looked to his left and used a pump-fake, but just as he was bringing the ball back to his chest, a Raiders defensive lineman had gotten penetration and began to wrap his arms around him. With the defender at his ankles, Perkins escaped his grasp, then took off and ran six yards for the 4th-and-5 conversion late in the fourth quarter.
Plays like that kept Perkins in the game and personified his resilient performance against the Raiders Saturday night.
"It was pretty solid," Perkins said postgame of his performance. "Love to clean up some of the mistakes I had early on and throughout the game, but (head) coach (Sean McVay) did a great job of – coaches and the players really kind of put it on ourselves to kind of look past the mistakes. Mistakes happen and we did a great job of next play mentality and just came up short."
As Perkins alluded to, it wasn't a perfect performance. The Rams' first three offensive series ended with punts and were bogged down by penalties. It took an interception from defensive back J.R. Reed to get them into Raiders territory, but Perkins – not letting those previous drives affect him – led the Rams into the endzone, connecting with tight end Kendall Blanton for a 9-yard touchdown pass.
The next drive, Perkins marched the Rams into Raiders territory again, setting up a 36-yard field goal by kicker Matt Gay for a 10-7 halftime lead. Both of those scores came after Las Vegas struck first with a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter.
"It was kind of just drive by drive," Perkins said, when asked if he knew when he would be playing the entire game. "(McVay) would come up and be like, 'Yeah, you're still going.' So I was just ready and when he told me that, just kind of stay locked in throughout the game and whatever was asked of me I did."
Similar to the first half, Perkins would not let mistakes affect his performance.
Even though he threw an interception, and the Rams had a blocked field goal that set up a scoring drive by the Raiders, he had the poise to lead the Rams on a 16-play, 76-yard scoring drive that put the Rams in position to win the game. Taking over with 6:58 left in the fourth quarter, Perkins used his legs to make a pair of fourth-down conversions and eventually threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Harris with 15 seconds left, but the unsuccessful ensuing 2-point attempt targeting Harris sealed a 17-16 loss to Las Vegas.
"Bryce, that's one of my close friends, so just seeing him getting in that rhythm and leading us down there was incredible," running back Xavier Jones said. "There's some things we've been talking about since last year, things we want to do, so just being able to go out there and ride it out with him that last drive, I had complete confidence in him. I knew he could make plays. Throwing the ball, he helped us a lot extending plays on the run."
It wasn't originally planned to keep Perkins in the entire game, according to McVay, but based on the flow of it and the different opportunities it presented – for example, the chance to respond to throwing an interception – and the way Perkins was operating, they went with it. Perkins finished 26 of 39 for 208 yards with two touchdowns against one interception.
"I thought you saw a lot of good things from him, a lot of opportunities to evaluate, a lot of things really for him to learn from," said McVay, also praised Perkins for the way created plays on-and-off schedule. "But I was really pleased with just his poise, his command and composure throughout the course of the game tonight."