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Angelenos Fill SoFi Stadium for First Time in Preseason Opener
By Jonathan Bassey
Published August 15, 2021

A Rams helmets sits on the field on Sofi Stadium (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

Iron out the wrinkles, get out the kinks, become a well-oiled machine. That’s what preseason is all about. Both teams rested their starters as anticipated, letting the backups show off their talent and fill the final roster spots. 

After a full season without the opportunity to watch their team in person, SoFi stadium was rocking in a Chargers preseason victory over the Rams 13-6.

Home to Super Bowl LVI in February 2022, SoFi was beautifully lit Saturday night with a total of 68,791 tickets distributed in the preseason showdown between the Chargers and Rams. 

Fans witness the first NFL game at Sofi Stadium (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

“It was outstanding, really. You just realized how much the fans create that energy, that atmosphere that makes this game so special,” said Rams Head Coach Sean McVay. “And being here last year in the absence of fans, you really appreciate it even that much more. It gives you that perspective. It was really exciting tonight.

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Rams Third string Quarterback Bryce Perkins got Rams faithful on their feet with a 4-yard touchdown pass across the middle to Trishton Jackson for the first Rams points of the game. 

Chargers tight end Stephen Anderson (82) (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

Perkins also displayed an electrifying run hurdling over a defender with ease showing his diverse skill set and athleticism. 

“I thought he did a nice job. I was real pleased with him,” said McVay. “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.”

Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins (16) hurdles Chargers corner Kemon Hall (37) (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

Perkins –– an undrafted Quarterback from the University of Virginia, born and raised in San Diego gained some solid fans tonight after a great performance completing seven passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Rams tight end Jacob Harris led the team in receiving hauling in four catches for 47 yards.

“I liked his ability to break tackles. You can see the catch radius,” said McVay on his promising tight end. “He had a nice little in-breaking route on the second down and got us about 18 yards. He did a lot of things he can learn from it. I thought overall it was a positive experience for him.”

Bolts quarterback Chase Daniel (7) at the line of scrimmage (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

The Chargers ended up winning the game with more consistency and control. Brandon Staley’s team led the game in plays, yards, along with a clean turnover sheet. 

“I really liked our operation. I liked getting in and out of the huddle,” said Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley. “I liked getting in and out of personnel groupings. Thought we executed well.”

Chargers Runningback Darius Bradwell punched in a touchdown from the 1-yard line for the second touchdown of the game and a 13-6 lead. 

Rams cheerleaders entertain the fans at Sofi (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

Bradwell got the touchdown but Larry Roundtree III led the team in rushing with 63 yards on 8 carries. 

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“I felt like we were able to get those guys a lot of looks in the run game, which was important to us. I think you saw the value of the two backs later in the game. I thought (RB) Darius (Bradwell) had an incredible hit on special teams, which I was fired up about. And equally as exciting as their offensive contribution is where they are on special teams as well,” said Staley on his team’s runningback group.

The Chargers defense held the Rams to 73 rushing yards in their preseason showdown on August 14, 2021 (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

 

Both coaches will admit they have a lot to build on to become a well oiled machine and Saturday night possessed a lot of promising plays offensively and defensively to build on. 

“Looking forward to seeing another good atmosphere next week against Las Vegas. And then I can’t lie but you’re getting really excited about what September 12 is going to look like,” emphasized McVay.

The Rams and Chargers will both host a set of preseason games next weekend with the Rams hosting the Las Vegas Raiders Saturday night and the Chargers hosting the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night.

Rams mascot Rampage hypes up the crowd (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

 

Categories: Football | Sports
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