On Monday, the Carolina Panthers waived former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield after less than a season in Charlotte. While his brief tour of duty with Carolina was over, Mayfield was quickly reclaimed by the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday and, in a wild turn of events, he was in uniform for a game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night. .
In the opening moments of the matchup, it appeared Mayfield would not be able to play, as John Wolford technically started for Los Angeles. Mayfield then trotted onto the field for the second series of the night and played the remainder of the game. The Rams fell behind for the enormous most of the night but, with less than two minutes to go, Mayfield executed a highly unlikely 98-yard touchdown run to steal a victory from the jaws of defeat with a final score of 17-16.
The Rams scored just three points in the first three quarters, then Los Angeles put together a marathon 17-play drive to climb back within surprising distance. Still, Los Angeles only had 3:19 on the clock, and with Las Vegas getting the ball back, everything had to be perfect. On cue, the Raiders went three-and-out, but punted beautifully to the Rams’ 2-yard line, putting Mayfield in a very, very difficult position with no timeouts and 98 yards to play.
Early in the drive, Mayfield actually uncorked an interception, but it was nullified (rightly) for a pass interference penalty. During the same drive, the Raiders were also called for unsportsmanlike conduct, denying a sack and giving the Rams a desperately needed 15 yards. Then, though, Mayfield really jumped into heroic action, first completing a deep pass to Ben Skowronek that made things pretty interesting.
After two shorter completions and a spike to stop the clock, the Rams were at the 23-yard line with 16 seconds remaining. That’s not an impossible position, but it certainly isn’t. probable score a touchdown with no timeouts. Mayfield had other ideas, throwing a touchdown pass to Van Jefferson in amazing fashion.
Matt Gay then hit the extra point and, with the Raiders immediately throwing an interception in desperation mode, the result of coming from behind was sealed. Needless to say, Mayfield was excited.
In all honesty, Mayfield’s performance was impressive, largely because he had less than two days to learn a whole new system with the Rams. It seems likely that he was operating with less than the entire playbook given the quick turnaround, but the Rams also faced lingering problems on the offensive line and the absence of Cooper Kupp on the outside. Mayfield didn’t exactly light up the stat sheet, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, but the fourth quarter was genuinely remarkable.
It must be said that this is a very ugly look for the Raiders, as Las Vegas was apparently in complete control. This also comes after the Raiders lost to Jeff Saturday and the Colts in their first game on the sidelines, and Las Vegas’ marginal shot at the playoffs basically evaporated over the course of just a few minutes down the stretch.
Overall, it was a wild scene in Los Angeles, as a very famous quarterback was suddenly playing for a third team in an independent location just hours after being claimed off waivers. The overall magnitude of the win isn’t huge for the Rams or anything, but it was still memorable and pretty impressive to watch.