Rams-Chiefs preview: Bryce Perkins vs. Patrick Mahomes at QB

There will be no relaxation.

On Sunday, Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins is expected to make his first NFL start against one of the NFL’s best teams, in one of the loudest environments in the league with a leader for most valuable player as quarterback for the opponent.

Other than that, not much of a challenge for a player signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2020.

“You’re going to have a little bit of heartbeats like that,” Perkins said as he maintained his composure against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, adding, “A little butterfly, a little heartbeat here and there, but once the first game snaps.” , we’ll get rid of it.”

With Matthew Stafford out through injury, Perkins will lead offense for a struggling Rams team that is 3-7, has lost four straight games and is close to being eliminated from the playoffs.

The Rams are underdogs with two touchdowns against the Chiefs (8-2) and Patrick Mahomes, who had another last-minute win last Sunday at SoFi Stadium to defeat the Chargers.

Perkins, 25, made the Rams roster for the second straight season, with preseason performances that forced the Rams not to risk exposing him to waivers.

Three weeks ago, with Stafford on concussion protocol, Perkins endorsed John Wolford and played five snaps in his NFL debut. Last Sunday, Stafford started against the New Orleans Saints but ended up on concussion protocol after being sacked in the second half. Perkins came and directed two field goal drives.

Now with Stafford out and Wolford questionable with a neck injury, the 6-foot-3, 214-pound Perkins is ready for the opportunity he dreamed of growing up in Arizona before playing at Arizona State and Virginia.

Perkins welcomes the opportunity to play in one of the toughest visiting venues in the NFL.

“I love the rough, rough environment,” he said. “To get a chance to go out there, to feel the energy that you live for, those cinematic football scenarios.”

With seven games remaining, the Rams’ season fits into the disaster genre.

Perkins will operate behind an injury-plagued line that could feature the 11th different starting group in 11 games, including a fourth left tackle.

Star wide receiver Cooper Kupp is on injured reserve after ankle surgery, and tight end Tyler Higbee is questionable with a knee problem.

Perkins will face the Chiefs defense, not Mahomes, and looks forward to taking on a double threat player he’s long admired.

“Just the things he’s doing, like he’s throwing the ball, the games he’s coming out of, games he’s doing with his legs, it’s definitely something like ‘wow,'” Perkins said, adding, “That it will be fun to go out there to see him in person and I know our defense is ready for that.

Mahomes has 28 touchdowns with seven interceptions on an offense that leads the league in passing and scoring.

Rams defense coordinator Raheem Morris described the 6-3, 227-pound Mahomes in otherworldly terms.

“Let’s face it,” Morris said, “like he’s an alien.”

An alien?

“It’s just something you can’t compare it to,” said linebacker Bobby Wagner. “He’s one of them. He is a special talent.”

Said cornerback Jalen Ramsey, “I mean, what can’t he do?”

Mahomes, 27, was in his second NFL season in 2018 when he introduced himself to the Rams.

In one of the most exciting games in Monday Night Football history, Mahomes rushed for 478 yards and six touchdowns in a 54-51 win over the Rams at the Coliseum.

The next season, he led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl title. Three years later he is doing even better.

“Looks comfortable,” said Rams defense attorney Aaron Donald, “like he won’t be upset much.”

Defensive lineman Greg Gaines put it differently.

“I have to try to keep him from coming out of that pocket, running around in circles, going down 30 yards and then throwing a dime,” Gaines said.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-11-26/los-angeles-rams-kansas-city-chiefs-nfl-game-preview Rams-Chiefs preview: Bryce Perkins vs. Patrick Mahomes at QB

Emma Bowman

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