Baker Mayfield threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds to play to bridge a 98-yard drive, and the Los Angeles Rams’ brand new quarterback led two TD drives late in the fourth quarter of a shocking 17-16 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night.
Just two days after the Rams (4-9) claimed Mayfield on waivers from Carolina, the former No. 1 pick went 22-of-35 for 230 yards and dramatically snapped the defending Super Bowl’s six-game losing streak. champions.
“It’s been a wild 48 hours,” Mayfield said on Amazon’s broadcast after the game.
Los Angeles trailed 16–3 after Daniel Carlson’s third field goal with 12:20 to play, but Mayfield provided a 75-yard drive capped by playing Cam Akers’ TD run with 3:19.
The Los Angeles defense stopped Derek Carr and the Raiders at the two-minute warning, but AJ Cole placed a 64-yard kick on the Rams’ two-yard line. Undeterred and with no timeouts, Mayfield led the Rams downfield—with ample help from an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Raiders’ Jerry Tillery for punching the quarterback after a play.
The Rams reached the Vegas 23 with 15 seconds left and Mayfield promptly found Jefferson in the back corner of the end zone. The drive included a contested 32-yard reception by Ben Skowronek that ended with seven catches for 89 yards.
Josh Jacobs rushed for 99 yards and the only touchdown for the Raiders (5-8), whose three-game winning streak ended in humiliating fashion. Less than four weeks after Las Vegas lost in former ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday’s NFL coaching debut with Indianapolis, the Raiders lost to a quarterback who joined his new team less than 48 hours before the game. According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Raiders are only the fourth team in NFL history to lose four games in a season after leading by 13 or more points.
Carr passed for 137 yards with no TDs and two interceptions, including a game-icing pick in center field.
Mayfield had a terrible season for the Panthers, but he unlikely injected a spark into the Rams with a handful of big plays and decent plays despite minimal knowledge of coach Sean McVay’s offense.
With McVay apparently giving detailed instructions in his helmet before each play, Mayfield immediately got the Rams moving with three completions of at least 20 yards in his first two series. Los Angeles had only 26 such completions in their first 12 games – the third fewest in the NFL.
And once he warmed up, Mayfield completed 15 of his 20 passes in the fourth quarter, flawlessly sending his new teammates down the field for two scores.
After the game, Mayfield was asked how Thursday’s events ranked in his career highs. “This is up there to be honest with you,” he said. “I didn’t think it would turn out like this, but I’m certainly glad we managed to beat the two-minute operation, my goodness.”