Seven Stats: Bortles gets the start, Parker's interception + more from first preseason game

The Los Angeles Rams kickoff off the 2019 preseason with a 14-3 loss to the Raiders in Oakland. The Rams, who rested nearly all starters on Saturday night, had a hard time getting anything going offensively against the Raiders’ defense besides a late rally led by reserve quarterback John Wolford.

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1. PETERSON’S PROUD INTERCEPTION

Cornerback Kevin Peterson spent the entire 2018 season on injured reserve after suffering a torn ACL in last year’s preseason opener against the Ravens. Just over one year later, he intercepted Raiders quarterback Mike Glennon and returned the pick 11 yards to the Oakland 39. 

Peterson previously had two interceptions in his last regular season game with the Rams, which was December 31, 2017 against the San Francisco 49ers.

2. PICKS APLENTY

Not wanting to let Peterson have all the fun, safety Steven Parker collected an interception of his own in Saturday’s 2019 preseason opener.

The Oklahoma product’s 39-yard return helped set up the Rams’ only points of the contest, a 36-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein. Parker added five solo tackles and one pass breakup to his stat line as well.

Los Angeles’ two interceptions against Oakland are one shy of matching its 2018 preseason total.

3. BORTLES GETS START

Sticking with the original plan, Rams head coach Sean McVay started backup Blake Bortles at quarterback and gave him two series against the Raiders’ defense. The five-year NFL veteran and former Jacksonville Jaguar completed 3 of 8 pass attempts for 50 yards in the limited action. 

Although neither drive went more than 28 yards, it wasn’t all on Bortles. Los Angeles began its first drive from its own 16, then a holding penalty on 1st and 10 from its own 42 stalled progress into Raider territory.  

Bortles’ longest completion went for 23 yards to wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge. He was replaced by fourth-year quarterback Brandon Allen with 48 seconds left in the first quarter.

4. MILLER TIME

Playing in his first organized football game since 2013, punter Brock Miller made his long-awaited NFL debut by launching the second half-opening kickoff into the endzone for a touchback. 

Miller, who was signed earlier this week, was lauded by McVay for his versality which would afford the Rams the ability to keep both Zuerlein and starting punter Johnny Hekker’s legs fresh during the preseason. Miller averaged 48.8 yards per punt across four punts against Oakland.

5. RAPP ACTIVE

Safety Taylor Rapp posted two tackles and one pass breakup in his NFL debut. 

The Rams’ first selection in this year’s draft got the start alongside Marqui Christian in L.A.’s preseason opener.

6. NO SNAPS FOR NOTEBOOM OR ALLEN

The pair of second-year offensive linemen are slated to start at left guard and center, respectively, based on L.A.’s unofficial depth chart.

While it wouldn’t have been surprising to see them get some reps in order to gel with the rest of the offensive line, the decision to rest them fell in line with McVay’s decision to rest several of the Rams’ starters on both sides of the ball.

The Rams take on the Oakland Raiders in the first preseason game of 2019!

7. THIRD DOWN TROUBLES

Los Angeles struggled most of the night with moving the chains.

Its offense converted 3 of 14 third down attempts, or 21.4 percent, compared to Oakland’s 6 of 14 (42.9 percent).

While that's a far-cry from the 45 percent conversion rate that shared fifth-best in the league with the Baltimore Ravens in 2018, it should be noted that was achieved with many of the starters who rested tonight.

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