Rams preseason takeaways: Stetson Bennett overcomes rough start

Rams preseason takeaways: Stetson Bennett overcomes rough start

For a first time in an NFL game situation, Stetson Bennett showed poise and all but announced he would not be easily rattled.

That was evident after two of his first three passes were nearly intercepted.

Bennett shook off the potential disasters and 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 it was all right,” Bennett said of his performance. “I thought there was some bone-headed plays that I made. And I thought there were some good plays that I made.”

The Rams drafted Bennett in the fourth round, believing the former Georgia star could back-up, and possibly succeed veteran starter Matthew Stafford.

Fifth-year pro Brett Rypien started the game, but that was just a prelude for Bennett’s debut with 9 minutes 50 seconds left in the second quarter.

It did not start well for Bennett, who last January at SoFi Stadium led Georgia to its second straight national title.

Bennett’s first pass Saturday was nearly intercepted, barely avoiding a pick six. He overthrew a receiver on his second attempt, and his third was nearly intercepted.

“Didn’t turn the ball over,” Bennett said, before quipping, “even though I tried to a few times.”

Bennett overcame his early mistakes and led a 16-play, 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 during 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,” coach Sean McVay said, adding, “I thought there was a lot of good opportunities for him to learn from 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 had a couple of backwards calls here and there, for sure, but for the most part he had a lot of command,” Anchrum said. “He spoke with confidence. He really addressed us professionally. and he took… the helm.”

Rypien completed three of six passes for 11 yards.