Baker Mayfield goes from waiver wire to hero in Rams comeback

Sean McVay didn’t waste any time.

Examine that: The Rams coach allowed greater than 12 minutes to run out earlier than he couldn’t management himself any longer.

The analysis of recent quarterback Baker Mayfield wanted to begin.

Overlook that Mayfield arrived solely 48 hours earlier.

Mayfield got here on instead of starter John Wolford for the second collection of Thursday night time’s recreation in opposition to the Las Vegas Raiders. And on his first snap, he accomplished a 21-yard move.

However it was the end that followers will bear in mind.

Mayfield engineered two fourth-quarter scoring drives, capping his debut with a landing move to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds left for a 17-16 victory earlier than a Raiders-heavy crowd of 74,738 at SoFi Stadium, which for one night time anyway was Baker’s Discipline.

“I don’t know if you could write it any better than that,” Mayfield stated.

The Rams couldn’t have felt higher. They ended a six-game shedding streak and improved their report to 4-9.

“You forget what winning’s like,” McVay stated, “and it sure is fun.”

The night time was all about Mayfield, and whether or not the No. 1 decide within the 2018 NFL draft generally is a viable choice as Matthew Stafford’s backup subsequent season — and maybe past.

The preliminary learn: Completely.

“Whatever happens from here on out, I got nothing but respect for Baker Mayfield,” receiver Ben Skowronek stated. “To have a guy come in like that, work his tail off for 48 hours, learn the game plan, learn our names…. He’s the type of competitor you want to play with.”

Mayfield was massive within the clutch and confirmed the kind of arm power and launch that McVay adores. He accomplished 22 of 35 passes for 230 yards, together with the landing to Jefferson.

Not a foul Rams debut for a much-maligned participant who was traded by the Cleveland Browns in July and waived this week by the Carolina Panthers.

“Hats off to Baker,” heart Brian Allen stated. “We were teaching him cadences in the middle of plays. Time to get out there and see what happens. And it happened.”

Quipped McVay: “Just like we drew it up.”

The Rams’ Van Jefferson (12) catches the sport successful 23-yard landing move in opposition to the Raiders.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Occasions)

McVay stated he was impressed by Mayfield’s management, resilience and composure.

“And what a quick study,” McVay stated. “He just got here five minutes ago.”

Mayfield, who has performed for quite a few coordinators, stated McVay and Rams assistants and gamers helped him with a “crash course” in greedy the offense.

“I used to not necessarily complain about the fact that I had that many different offensive systems and having to learn that, but it came in handy when having to learn a crash course and being able to relate certain things,” he stated.

The Rams now have some additional time to organize for his or her Dec. 19 recreation at Inexperienced Bay, the primary of 4 remaining video games in opposition to the Packers, Denver Broncos, Chargers and Seattle Seahawks.

And 4 extra probabilities for Mayfield to make his case.

“It’s been a tough year, to be honest,” Mayfield stated. “A good way to kick-start this journey.”

McVay had stated on Wednesday that it could be “unprecedented” for a quarterback to play with so little preparation with a brand new crew.

Nicely, these are unprecedented instances for McVay and the defending Tremendous Bowl-champion Rams, who’ve nose-dived with a Tremendous Bowl hangover.

Stafford, 34, is on injured reserve due to spinal twine contusion and is predicted to be out for the remainder of the season.

Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield is congratulated by Raiders linebacker Curtis Bolton.

Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield is congratulated by Raiders linebacker Curtis Bolton after main the Rams to a 17-16 comeback victory.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Occasions)

Wolford was questionable for Thursday’s recreation due to a neck harm.

So, the Rams claimed Mayfield, who had not performed since Nov. 20. However McVay was clearly intent on discovering out if he may repair him.

When gamers got here out for early warmups about 90 minutes earlier than kickoff, Wolford was not on the sector. Mayfield, in shorts, a blue Rams sweatshirt and black headband, took all of the snaps as third-string Bryce Perkins seemed on.

Mayfield briefly met on the sector with tv announcers Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit in one thing akin to a last-minute manufacturing assembly to make up for the one he may need carried out the day earlier than.

However when the Rams got here out in uniform for normal warmups, Wolford took snaps with the starters.

The Raiders scored on the primary possession for a 7-0 lead, and when the Rams bought the ball and went three and out, Wolford’s night time was over.

Mayfield, sporting No. 17, got here on the subsequent collection and fired a 21-yard completion to Jefferson on his first play. The drive ended with a 55-yard area aim by Matt Homosexual.

Mayfield had the Rams on the transfer within the subsequent collection, finishing 22-yard passes to Tutu Atwell and Skowronek earlier than working again Cam Akers killed the drive by shedding a fumble.

Josh Jacobs rushed for a landing and Daniel Carlson’s two area objectives gave the Raiders a 13-3 halftime lead.

A lot of the second half didn’t go effectively for Mayfield and the Rams. He was sacked a number of instances and penalties stifled a drive that compelled Homosexual to try a 61-yard field-goal that went broad left.

Late within the third quarter, nonetheless, Mayfield directed a 17-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended with Akers’ brief landing run that pulled the Rams to inside 16-10 with simply greater than three minutes left.

The Rams bought the ball again at their two-yard line with 1:45 left, and Mayfield’s 32-yard move to Skowronek keyed a drive that ended with Mayfield’s 23-yard scoring move to Jefferson.

“Just shows the type of guy that he is,” Jefferson stated of Mayfield, including, “He’s a tough guy. I’m glad he’s here.”

The Rams protection saved giving Mayfield probabilities by limiting the Raiders to area objectives or creating turnovers. Linebacker Ernest Jones intercepted a move in the long run zone close to the top of the second quarter. And Taylor Rapp clinched the victory with an interception.

Linebacker Bobby Wagner had a game-high 14 tackles — and marveled at Mayfield.

“The defense gave [the offense] us a chance to come on the field and make those plays,” Wagner stated. “He came on and did an amazing job.

“It was great to watch.”

McVay thought in order effectively.

“To say that I expected this,” he stated, “I mean it certainly exceeded our expectations.”