Baker Mayfield had an idea the Rams would seek his services after Carolina released him earlier this week. Mayfield was so certain Los Angeles would sign him that he actually booked a flight to Los Angeles before he was officially off waivers.
In a performance befitting a Hollywood script, Mayfield led the Rams to a legendary 17-16 victory Thursday night after he threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds left in the game. The score capped a 98-yard drive that saw Mayfield complete several big passes while helping the Rams snap their six-game losing streak.
“That’s right up there,” Mayfield told Amazon’s postgame team when asked to compare Thursday night’s win to other standout moments in his career. “Originally, I was pissed off having to make so many changes in coaching and learn so many new things, but it sure helped there…they made some good plays and put me in a good position to win.”
It took three straight plays and one possession for Sean McVay to go from John Walford to Mayfield. Mayfield entered the game with 2:21 left in the first quarter and rams trailing 10-0.
“I knew I wasn’t going to start,” Mayfield said. “Honestly, we were just seeing how John was going to feel, just how it would turn out and I would do it. I was going to be ready no matter what.”
Mayfield went 22 of 35 for 230 yards in his Rams debut. Trailing 16-3 late on, Mayfield engineered a 17-play drive that ended on a 1-yard Cam Akers touchdown run. After the Rams defense forced a punt, Mayfield’s 32-yard completion to Ben Skoronek on Los Angeles’ final drive helped set up the game-winning pass to Jefferson.
“To be honest with you, I was absolutely stunned that they lined up in press coverage with 15 seconds left in the game,” Mayfield said of his game-winning touchdown pass. “I really thought they were going to try to get out of the area and play, but they stayed with it. The weak side safety stayed put. Van is a great runner. He won off the line and did a good job.”
In his first play as Ram, Ex Brown And the leopards The quarterback pressed a 21-yard completion to Jefferson. Then Mayfield had a 6-yard touchdown run that helped set up Matt Jay’s 55-yard field goal.
“For him to come here and just do it, it just shows how determined and kind he is. I’m glad he’s here,” Jefferson told Amazon’s Kaylee Hartung. “He just came and worked. He was only here for one day… When he walked in we knew he was going to be executed.”
Mayfield and the Rams offense didn’t do much in the second or third quarter, but they did run him into the fourth. He hit great throws to Skowronek and Tutu Atwell. Skowronek caught seven passes for 89 yards. Atwell caught five passes for 50 yards after only catching six passes during the first three months of the season.
Mayfield signed with the Rams the day after he was released by the Panthers. Mayfield, who signed with Carolina in the offseason last season, lost his starting spot after suffering an injury in Week 5. His final Carolina start occurred during a Week 11 loss to the Browns, the team he spent the first four years of his career with.
“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is to never let playing the field affect who you are day in and day out,” Mayfield said when asked what the most important thing he had learned during his career up to this point. “Be the same person for your teammates, and that’s been the biggest thing this year I think I’ve tried to deal with in general. Just try to help out where I can, not let all this other stuff get to me and take the punches. Be who I am and kind of be that leader.” .
“I love football. I love playing this game and I love playing and being competitive. Just go and enjoy it.”
Mayfield did that and then some on Thursday night, and it resulted in a memorable finish that helped his new team avoid playoff elimination.
“It speaks to locker room culture,” Mayfield said of the Rams’ public performance Thursday night. “They come here and still try to compete, though the record speaks for itself. Just welcoming me in and competing and fighting to the end. That says everything you need to know about this place.”
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”