In week twelve of the 2022 NFL season, former Virginia Cavaliers Bryce Perkins and Jelani Woods each had career-best performances in each of their young careers. Perkins, now in his third year in the league, started for the Los Angeles Rams in the absence of starting quarterback Matt Stafford while Woods balled out in primetime last night for the Indianapolis Colts against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now, Perkins’ game against the Kansas Chiefs on Sunday wasn’t particularly pretty. Throwing for 100 yards, one touchdown, and a pair of interceptions on 13-23 passing, he also gained 44 yards on nine carries against one of the NFL’s best teams in his first career start. His 29.4 Quarterback Rating and 45.5 passer rating certainly weren’t ideal but, considering how bad the now 3-8 Rams have been this season and that Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp is out due to an ankle injury, it’s hard to shift too much blame on Perkins’ shoulders. He showed flashes in his first start and, in that context, that’s all you can ask for.
While Woods had one drop in the Colts’ 24-17 loss to the Steelers, he caught all eight of his other targets as he racked up 98 yards through the air including a 28-yard reception. Those 98 yards and eight receptions more than doubled both his career receiving yards and receptions as the rookie entered Monday night with seven catches, 79 yards, and three touchdowns in five games of action.
Somewhat surprisingly, Woods didn’t catch a touchdown last night despite the fact that he’d scored on three of his seven catches coming into the night. Nevertheless, as Indy’s leading receiver on the night, it’s clear that he’s starting to carve out a role for himself under new head coach Jeff Saturday and with quarterback Matt Ryan back as the starter.