What Baker Mayfield did on Thursday night was unprecedented.
The quarterback arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday night after the Panthers waived him on Monday. He didn’t start, but he played every offensive snap after the Rams’ first drive in their game against the Raiders.
And then against all odds, he tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson with just 10 seconds left to beat Las Vegas 17-16.
It completed an eight-play, 98-yard drive that began with 1:45 on the clock — and Los Angeles didn’t have any timeouts.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the longest touchdown drive that began in the last two minutes over the last 45 seasons — long before Mayfield or Rams head coach Sean McVay were even born.
“I don’t know if you could write it any better than that,” Mayfield said in his postgame press conference. “Obviously, we’d like to be a little bit more stress-free. But it’s a pretty damn good story. It’s special.”
Mayfield credited McVay, offensive coordinator Liam Coen, and quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson for getting him ready on such short notice. Mayfield noted Matthew Stafford, John Wolford, and Bryce Perkins were supportive as well.
He finished the game 22-of-35 for 230 yards with a touchdown. He completed passes to nine different receivers, with Ben Skowronek leading the team with seven catches for 89 yards.
Mayfield said his experience with so many different offensive systems hasn’t always been a positive for him, but it was this week.
“Sean’s protection scheme is similar to Bill Callahan’s, who I had in Cleveland,” Mayfield said. “So, the terminology with that, that knocks out a big chunk of the learning curve. And just trying to learn all the motions and the terminology for that — it’s tough. But those guys did a great job of helping me out, communicating with me when I got off the field on the sideline and just talking through the plays that were coming up.
“There were still definitely [what] looked like some rookie errors with formations and motions. Obviously, it hurt us late. It worked out, but not having the timeouts to call on defense, it came down to that third-and-1 stop. Defense did a hell of a job making that stop and giving us the ball back. There’s things that definitely need to be worked out, but those guys helped me out in this crash course.”
Mayfield, for instance, didn’t really know the cadence to spike the ball late in the game. The quarterback relayed that center Brian Allen yelled it at him as they were running down the field.
But it was a banner night for Mayfield, who will now presumably start the last four games of the season for Los Angeles.
“I’m just looking to be the best version of me possible,” Mayfield said. “Learning and improving in the system, trying to take away from a great group of guys who’ve had a lot of success. Obviously, the injuries — it’s tough. But just trying to learn from everybody here. Taking in as much as I can and let the pieces fall where they may.
“I can’t control the future. I know I have the next four games here. Trying to build on that and be the best version of me and improve.”