For the first time in an NFL game situation, Stetson Bennett displayed composure and almost announced he wouldn’t be easily upset.
That became clear after two of his first three passes were almost intercepted.
Shrugging off the potential disasters, Bennett came back to complete 17 of 29 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. He also led another touchdown drive and a field goal drive.
“I thought everything was fine,” Bennett said of his performance. “I thought there were some stupid pieces I did. And I thought there were some good plays I’ve done.”
The Rams selected Bennett in the fourth round as they believed the former Georgia star could assist and possibly succeed veteran regular Matthew Stafford.
Fifth-year pro Brett Rypien started the game, but that was just a prelude to Bennett’s debut as there were 9 minutes and 50 seconds left in the second quarter.
Things didn’t start well for Bennett, who led Georgia to their second straight national title at SoFi Stadium last January.
Bennett’s first pass on Saturday was almost intercepted, narrowly avoiding a pick six. He knocked down a receiver on his second attempt, and his third was nearly intercepted.
“I didn’t flip the ball,” Bennett said before quipping, “although I tried a few times.”
Bennett overcame his early errors and led a 16-game and 75-yard scoring drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Puka Nacua.
Bennett completed three of seven passes for 37 yards on the drive.
Bennett also led drives that ended with running back Royce Freeman’s touchdown run and Tanner Brown’s 39-yard field goal.
“It was a step in the right direction,” said coach Sean McVay, adding, “I thought there were a lot of good opportunities for him to learn from that and you could see some of the things that excite us about him.”
Offensive lineman Tremayne Anchrum praised Bennett’s command of the huddle.
“He certainly had a few setbacks here and there, but for the most part he had a lot of control,” Anchrum said. “He spoke with confidence. He addressed us in a really professional manner. and he took over… the helm.”
Rypien completed three of six passes for 11 yards.