Rams’ Baker Mayfield rewards Sean McVay’s religion with beautiful rally previous Raiders

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Sean McVay first met Baker Mayfield 4 years in the past on a flight for the NFL Scouting Mix from Los Angeles to Indianapolis.

Little did McVay know then that the 2 would mix for probably the most historic, unlikeliest come-from-behind wins in league historical past.

“Just like we drew it up,” McVay quipped at first of Thursday’s postgame press convention.

A mere 48 hours after becoming a member of the Rams, Mayfield rallied his new staff from a 13-point deficit within the fourth quarter with a pair of landing drives — the latter of which spanned eight performs and 98 yards with lower than two minutes remaining.

The night time culminated in Mayfield discovering Van Jefferson on a fade route for a 23-yard TD with 9 seconds left to safe a jaw-dropping, 17-16 victory over the visiting  Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium. That snapped a six-game shedding streak for the defending Tremendous Bowl champs, and reignited a beforehand unknown coach-quarterback connection. 

Simply three weeks in the past, Mayfield had been benched in Carolina in favor of Sam Darnold. Simply three days in the past, the previous No. 1 general decide requested for his launch. The Panthers obliged, resulting in a contemporary begin in Los Angeles, because the Rams have been the one staff to position a waiver declare for the Oklahoma product. 

Mayfield had been in L.A. for all of two days, and practiced as soon as with the Rams previous to Thursday’s heroics. McVay began John Wolford, however only for one sequence. With Matthew Stafford out because of a spinal twine contusion and Wolford banged up with a neck damage of his personal, McVay opted to go together with Mayfield over Bryce Perkins.

That call took simply 60 minutes to repay, as L.A.’s 98-yard march to win the sport was the NFL’s longest go-ahead landing drive to start within the ultimate two minutes during the last 45 seasons, based on the Elias Sports activities Bureau. Mayfield’s two days earlier than debuting was additionally the shortest period of time a participant has spent with a brand new staff earlier than taking part in QB since a minimum of 1995, per NFL Analysis. Mayfield manifested that chance by main his eighth profession game-winning drive. 

“I was really impressed,” McVay mentioned. “I don’t know if I would say surprised because I’ve always been a fan of the things he was capable of. But to say I expected this, it certainly exceeded our expectations. But it was a lot of fun watching him go to work.” 

Mayfield accomplished 22 of 35 passes for 230 yards and a landing with no interceptions. That features going 15-of-20 for 141 yards within the fourth quarter. The Rams have been aided by two defensive penalties on the go-ahead drive — a cross interference name on cornerback Amik Robertson in protection towards Jefferson, and an unsportsmanlike penalty on defensive lineman Jerry Tillery for knocking the ball out of Mayfield’s arms after the play was over.

The QB’s heroics have been additionally made attainable by his protection stuffing Josh Jacobs on third-and-1 from Vegas’ 34-yard line simply previous to the two-minute warning, forcing a Raiders punt. Jacobs completed with 99 speeding yards however wanted 27 carries to get them. The Raiders dropped to 5-8 with the loss, ending their three-game successful streak. This marked their fourth defeat of the season when main by double digits at halftime.

“I don’t know if you could write it any better than that,” Mayfield mentioned. “Obviously, we’d like it to be a little more stress-free, but it’s a pretty damn good story, to be honest with you. It’s special.” 

Mayfield notably impressed his new teammates along with his capacity to be taught a brand new playbook in a brief period of time, taking part in with command and confidence in a high-leverage scenario with the sport on the road.

“Whatever happens from here on out, I’ve got nothing but respect for Baker Mayfield,” mentioned receiver Ben Skowronek, who had a 32-yard catch on the successful drive. “To have a guy come in like that, work his tail off for 48 hours and learn the game plan — learn our names (laughs) — hats off to him. He played great tonight.

“I’m excited to go to battle with him. I’ll go to battle with him any day. He’s the kind of competitor you wish to play with. It was superior.” 

Operating again Cam Akers mentioned Mayfield exuded confidence and tranquility within the huddle.

“It shocked me,” Akers said. “Not his capacity, however simply how he was capable of decide up on the offense, are available in and know every little thing. It was surreal to me, however he did it. Huge ups to him.” 

McVay said he witnessed that confidence first-hand on the four-hour flight from L.A. to Indianapolis four years ago. The Rams had just won the NFC West before falling to the Atlanta Falcons in the wild-card round. With 23-year-old Jared Goff coming off a Pro Bowl campaign, the second-year coach wasn’t looking for a quarterback.

“It was a Southwest flight, we received the early boarding, and we sat proper subsequent to one another,” McVay said. “It was the one LAX direct flight to Indy. And you may simply see he’s a person’s man. He loves soccer. He’s an amazing competitor. We have been simply speaking. We weren’t even within the combine to have an opportunity of getting him.” 

Mayfield fondly remembers the dialog, as effectively.

“That man loves soccer,” Mayfield said of McVay. “He’s all about ball. You possibly can inform he’s a relationship man, too. And we talked so much about my coaches prior to now, what made them particular and simply attempting to level out what made sure gamers or coaches nice.” 

Over the final quarter Thursday night, Mayfield and McVay made each other look great. How they work together over the next month could determine whether this partnership continues in 2023. 

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Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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