Stetson Bennett’s NFL career picked up where his collegiate career ended on Saturday night, and in much the same fashion.
Some seven months after directing a 65-7 CFP Championship Game win for Georgia in SoFi Stadium, Bennett flashed upside for the Los Angeles Rams in NFL preseason action.
Bennett’s team was on the wrong end of a 34-17 score in the loss to the L.A. Chargers, but not before the former Bulldogs’ player had shown his playmaking abilities.
“I thought it was alright,” Bennett said after the game. “I thought there some bone-headed plays that I made, I thought there were some good plays that I made.
“I felt we bounced back a few times from some lost yardage plays. I thought we did pretty good on third downs, didn’t turn the ball over even though I tried to a few times, so gotta clean that up a little bit.”
Bennett was 17-of-29 passing for 191 yards and a touchdown, suffering three sacks, and leading two more drives that resulted in scores while playing in eight of Los Angeles’ 11 offensive series.
Bennett came off the bench in the second quarter and directed a 16-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by an 11-yard TD pass.
“I thought there was a lot of good opportunities for him to be able to learn from,” Rams coach Sean McVay said, “and you could see some of the things that excite us about him.”
Bennett said things got better as the game progressed.
“It’s the first NFL game you’re playing in, and you’re going to be a little nervous and try to make a play when sometimes plays aren’t there,” Bennett said. “But then as it started to groove, we started calling plays and started to settle in.”
McVay said he saw Bennett settle into more of a rhythm in the second half.
“There were some tough situations you could see the athleticism where he escaped; the one scoring drive when Royce (Freeman) ended up punching it in, I thought he was able to get into a rhythm.
“He did a good job being able to exhaust some of his progressions. It was a step in the right direction.”
Former Georgia star quarterback and NFL Super Bowl champ Matthew Stafford did not dress for the game, and veteran Brett Rypien got the start and played the first three series.
Rypien, listed as the co-No. 2 quarterback with Bennett by the Rams, was just 3-for-6 passing for 11 yards after starting and playing the first three series of the game.