After the Los Angeles Rams claimed him off waivers Tuesday, quarterback Baker Mayfield got acclimated with his new teammates very quickly on Thursday as they hosted the Las Vegas Raiders.
In a sensational introduction, Mayfield led the Rams back from a 16-3 deficit, capping the game off with a 98-yard drive in a two-minute drill situation – with no timeouts – to win 17-16.
“It’s been a wild 48 hours,” Mayfield said as he arrived on the Amazon Thursday Night Football set after the win.
When asked what happened, he replied, “I have no idea.”
Mayfield started the season with the Carolina Panthers after he was traded there by the Cleveland Browns, who had opted to move on from Mayfield and acquire Deshaun Watson. Mayfield, a former Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick, was released by Carolina on Monday.
Mayfield was asked if he knew he’d be with the Rams when the Panthers were letting him go.
“I took a gamble,” he said. “I booked the flight before the waiver wire went through.”
Mayfield said he knew he wasn’t going to start but that he’d be ready no matter what. With Matthew Stafford out, John Wolford – who is dealing with a neck injury – got the start. But it lasted for just one drive, which resulted in a three-and-out with his team already trailing by a touchdown. The Raiders followed up with a field goal to make it 10-0.
In came Mayfield – who on his first play hit Van Jefferson for 21 yards. He led them far enough for field-goal range, which Matt Gay converted from 55 yards.
In the second quarter, Mayfield’s second drive included a pass deep up the middle good for 22 yards to get to the Raiders’ 23-yard line. But running back Cam Akers lost a fumble, nullifying their gains.
The Raiders would later go on in the third quarter to take a 16-3 lead.
But Mayfield wasn’t finished. First, he led the Rams in a 17-play, 75-yard drive to a touchdown to make it 16-10 with 3:19 to go.
Then, the Rams’ offense got the ball back with 1:45 to go at their own 2-yard line and no timeouts. A mix of Mayfield’s passes – and Raiders penalties – brought the Rams down the field. The drive was capped by a 23-yard Mayfield touchdown pass to Jefferson with 10 seconds left. The extra point by Gay gave them their first and only lead.
Taylor Rapp sealed the win for Los Angeles by intercepting a Derek Carr pass with two seconds left. And just like that, Mayfield’s quick studying after he landed in California paid off.
“This is up there, to be honest with you. … Didn’t think it was going to play out like this, but I am sure happy we covered the two-minute operation, my goodness,” Mayfield said.
Mayfield was 22-of-35 passing for 230 yards and one touchdown and zero interceptions. He was sacked four times.