Rams display a speedy new dimension on offense and special teams in preseason opener

Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins jumps over Chargers cornerback Kemon Hall during a preseason game Saturday at SoFi Stadium.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The Rams opened SoFi Stadium with a packed house that watched them take on the co-tenant Chargers in Saturday’s preseason opener.

Here are four observations from the Rams’ side:

Raymond Calais, trying to carve out a spot as a returner, showed a burst of speed in the first quarter, making something out of nothing for a 29-yard return.

Rookie receiver Tutu Atwell, who missed the start of camp with a positive COVID test, looked quick and explosive — necessities for a player generously listed at 165 pounds. On his first NFL reception, he turned a short pass from Devlin Hodges into a 20-yard gain up the sideline. At the start of the second quarter, he had a big punt return that was wiped out by a hold.


Quarterbacks Devlin Hodges and Bryce Perkins will have their chance to make their case for a roster spot during Saturday’s preseason game against the Chargers.

Aug. 13, 2021

Quarterback Bryce Perkins completed six of his first seven passes, mostly short stuff, and carved out a bit of personal history. He threw the first touchdown pass at SoFi Stadium — in front of fans, that is — with a four-yard toss to Trishton Jackson.

Outside linebacker Justin Lawler had four tackles in the first half and looked like someone who could contribute in a rotation at the position. He clearly knows how to apply pressure and stop the run.

Rams linebacker Justin Lawler sacks Chargers quarterback Chase Daniel on Saturday at SoFi Stadium.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

It was a rough night for Rams kickers. Matt Gay missed an extra point in the second quarter then Austin MacGinnis doinked a 40-yard field goal off the left upright in the third.

Fans cheer in the stands during the Chargers-Rams preseason game Saturday at SoFi Stadium.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Not many NFL home teams are on the side of the field facing the press box, but the Rams are. The midfield Rams logo is upside down from their perspective, and the national anthem singer faces away from them. If there’s a truly jaw-dropping area, it’s the patio club. That sunken space — identical on both sides of the venue — has an indoor/outdoor feel with greenery cascading down the tiered retaining walls, giant fans on the ceiling and towering white columns.

Fans are amazed at the $5 billion Inglewood venue when it was opened to the L.A. faithful for the first time for Saturday’s Chargers-Rams preseason game.

Aug. 15, 2021