Here are observations from the Rams’ 24-20 loss:
Quarterback John Wolford was under pressure
Was it a chance for Wolford — Jared Goff’s and Matthew Stafford’s backup the last two seasons — to simply get some game reps? Or was it a move to give Perkins a shot at a fair comparison for the role as Stafford’s backup?
“It’s definitely something that we’re continuing to evaluate,” McVay said after the game.
Wolford completed 14 of 22 passes for 142 yards. He was sacked five times.
It marked Wolford’s first extended playing time since 2020, when he started the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals, and then started and played most of the first quarter in a wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.
McVay said this week that he wanted to see Wolford command the offense, sustain drives and score points.
The Rams managed two field goals.
“Overall, I felt like he had good command, made good decisions, saw the coverages the right way,” McVay said. “And then there were some instances where we could help him out a little bit more. But I thought both he and Bryce did a nice job.”
Perkins was coming off a solid performance against the Chargers, positioning him for a run at an opening-game roster spot for the second year in a row.
He started slowly, his first two passes falling incomplete.
But on the first play of his second possession, he slipped a tackle in the backfield and completed a 14-yard pass to tight end Roger Carter Jr.
Perkins finished 11 of 13 for 123 yards.
After the drive stalled, the Rams’ Duron Lowe forced a fumble on a punt return, and Carter scooped the ball and ran into the end zone for a touchdown.
Receiver Lance McCutcheon continued his push for a roster spot
McCutcheon, an undrafted free agent from Montana State, built on his two-touchdown performance against the Chargers.
He had a 29-yard catch in the first quarter, a 22-yard reception in the second and finished with five catches for 96 yards.
McCutcheon also played on special teams, and remains a viable candidate to make the 53-man roster.
Second-year pro Jacob Harris also contributed with four catches for 22 yards. The 6-foot-6 Harris, who was drafted as a tight end but was moved to receiver, could give the receiving corps an intriguing option if he can master the offense.
Tight end Brycen Hopkins is getting comfortable at SoFi Stadium
Hopkins, who had a clutch performance in Super Bowl LVI against the Cincinnati Bengals, caught six passes for 41 yards against the Texans in the first half.
The third-year pro from Purdue appears on track for a role in rotation with veteran Tyler Higbee and Kendall Blanton.
Decobie Durant and Derion Kendrick made plays
Durant and Kendrick were standouts during training camp, and both seemed to gain confidence after playing against the Chargers.
In the first quarter, Durant sacked Texans quarterback Davis Mills. He got help from rookie outside linebacker Daniel Hardy.
Durant also broke up a pass in the second quarter.
Late in the second quarter, linebacker Jake Gervase forced running back Rex Burkhead to fumble, and Kendrick recovered the ball. The play set up a field goal.
In the final seconds of the first half, Kendrick draped Texans receiver Nico Collins in the end zone and battled for the ball, but officials ruled that Collins came down with the contested catch.
Defensive lineman Jonah Williams had a sack and forced a fumble. Second-year pro Robert Rochell, a starter for five games last season before suffering a chest injury, broke up a pass.
Matt Gay appears in midseason form
Gay made the Pro Bowl last season after making 32 of 34 field-goal attempts.
On Friday, he kicked a 43-yard field goal in the first quarter to give the Rams a 3-0 lead. His 36-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in the second quarter increased the lead to 6-0.
Gay did not put his first kickoff through the end zone, ostensibly so players on the kickoff coverage unit could be evaluated by coaches. His second kickoff resulted in a touchback.
Riley Dixon got a feel for his new workplace
Dixon doesn’t have an easy task — he’s replacing four-time All-Pro Johnny Hekker, who played for the Rams for 10 seasons.
Dixon, a seventh-year pro, played for the Denver Broncos in 2016, when Rams special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis worked for the Broncos.
Dixon’s first punt Friday was nullified because of a penalty against the Texans. His next two kicks traveled 52 and 54 yards.
Dixon averaged 46.7 yards for six punts. He had one touchback and placed two inside the 20-yard line.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.