Chargers wide receiver Derius Davis (12) ran an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown against the L.A. Rams on August 12, 2023 (Marja Baker/TGSportstv1)

The Los Angeles Chargers started their preseason on a high note with a 34-17 victory over the Rams.

Rookie Elijah Dotson scored two touchdown rushes in the fourth quarter to solidify the Chargers’ win. He gave credit to the offensive line for his scoring runs.

“You got to take advantage of the opportunity, especially being an undrafted free agent,” Dotson said. “You just got to execute just play smart football.”

His first score was a 37-yard run with 14:01 in regulation, his second was a 40-yard rush on a second down with 3:47 left in the game.

Related Stories

Max Christie Makes a Case for Joining the Lakers’ Rotation at NBA Summer League

Freeman Tallies 3 Hits; Dodgers Earn 3-Game Sweep over Athletics with 8-2 Win

Rams running back Royce Freeman (24) made seven carries for 26 yards and one touchdown against the Chargers on August 12, 2023 (Marja Baker/TGSportstv1)

Ultimately, Dotson had 92 rushing yards in the matchup; the Rams rushers combined for 99. Coming into the game, Dotson kept advice from running back Austin Ekeler in mind.

“He was like “don’t do too much, take what’s given, you don’t have to be a superstar, just take what’s given and execute,”” Dotson said, “He hit on that a lot and I appreciate him for that.”

This game also marked the first pro game of Crenshaw alum Daiyan Henley who made five total tackles and two pass breakups. He noted how his first game as a Charger was surreal.

“I had about 43 reps which was the most amongst all the linebackers today,” Henley said. “For me to get in-game experience to go against any competition on the opposite side of my team, that just helps me further in my career just being able to get used to the game speed of the NFL.”

Chargers quarterback Easton Stick made 14 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Keelan Doss made three receptions for 39 yards.

Rams rookie signal caller Stetson Bennett made 17 throws for 191 yards. Wideout Tyler Johnson made five receptions for 140 yards and running back Zach Evans made eight carries for 34 yards.

“There’s a lot of players on this team that haven’t had the opportunity to even really suit up, play real tackle football that we’re going to be counting on against Seattle [Seahawks],” said Rams head coach Sean McVay. “I thought there was a lot of good plays on both sides of the football.”

The Chargers scored a pair of field goals early. On a fourth down by the Rams in the second quarter, Bolts wideout Derious Davis made an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown. This put the Chargers up 13-0.

Chargers corner Amechi Uzodinma (35) defends Rams wide receiver Tyler Johnson (14) (Marja Baker/TGSportstv1)

“I just sized them up, found a crease and took it to the house,” Davis said. “I just seen too many people on the left side, I kind of slowed down a little bit just to make them all gravitate towards the left.”

Henley, who was playing special teams during that play noted how that was a proud moment.

“Being a part of that punt return is something I’m not quite used to,” Henley said. “I’ve never actually been on punt return and then to let alone have one happen where I’m in the game, that’s probably my proudest moment.”

The Rams reached the scoreboard on their next possession when Bennett connected with wide receiver Puka Nacua for an 11-yard touchdown pass.

“They’re always doing everything they can to try and make strides, learn from whatever past mistake or failure we’ve had and go forward,” said Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford. “I just always want to encourage those guys while I push them.”

Chargers’ first round draft pick Quentin Johnston scored an eight-yard touchdown pass on the next possession. Johnston lamented his performance during the matchup but was optimistic about improving.

“At the end of the day, I’m not satisfied,” Johnston said. “Hopefully, coming back next week, I’m doing better.”

The Rams will host the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, August 19 at 6:00P.M. and the Chargers will return to SoFi on August 20 to battle the New Orleans Saints at 4:05P.M.