Baker Mayfield Gave Rams Fans Something To Cheer About For First Time In A While

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The 2022 Los Angeles Rams season has been a disaster, there’s no way of sugarcoating it. A team that had aspirations of repeating as Super Bowl champions currently sits at 4-9 outside of the playoff mix, and considering they don’t own their first-round picks, there’s also no benefit to tanking.

The Rams have been destroyed by injuries with their whole offensive line, plus key players like Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, Allen Robinson and Jordan Fuller all missing time.

Through a recent six-game losing streak, Rams fans basically had nothing to cheer about. Whoever’s jersey they were wearing at games probably wasn’t playing, and considering the team doesn’t really have young players to develop, there wasn’t really a reason at all.

That all changed in Week 14 though.

Baker shows up and steals the show

At the beginning of the week, the Carolina Panthers announced that they had waived quarterback Baker Mayfield. The former Oklahoma Sooner struggled with them earlier in the season and with them wanting to get a look at Sam Darnold to finish out the year, his services were no longer needed.

With Stafford essentially being ruled out for the season, the Rams had turned to both John Wolford and Bryce Perkins at quarterback with neither finding any success.

So once Mayfield got on waivers, the Rams viewed it as an opportunity to get an up-close look at a former No. 1 overall pick. It was a no-lose situation for L.A. considering they are already out of the playoff race.

If Mayfield succeeds, then maybe he will stick around next year as Stafford’s backup. Or if he signed elsewhere in free agency then the Rams would get a comp pick in return.

It appears that feeling was mutual as Mayfield revealed later in the week that he booked a flight to L.A. before the waiver claim even went through. Mayfield and Sean McVay previously shared a flight together on the way to the NFL Combine in 2018 before the former was drafted, and all reports have indicated that they built a mutual respect for each other talking ball the whole way.

Considering Mayfield was claimed on Tuesday though and the Rams hosted the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night, many assumed that would be too quick of a turnaround for him to play and have any sort of success.

Why it was so remarkable

Quarterback is arguably the hardest position in all of sports not only because of the physical traits you need but also because of the mental side, having to understand concepts and terminology that is different each place you go.

Mayfield having so many different coaches throughout the course of his career actually helped him though as he ended up being familiar with some of the Rams’ terminology, specifically on the offensive line. McVay uses the same termoglogy as Bill Callahan from their time together in Washington. Callahan is the current offensive line coach with the Cleveland Browns, where Mayfield played the last couple of years.

Even though that helped, Mayfield still only had about 24 hours to learn an entirely new playbook and get familiar with teammates and receivers he had never thrown to before.

Although that task was almost impossible, Mayfield found a way.

He didn’t even start the game against the Raiders as Wolford played the first series. After the Rams offense did nothing, McVay decided to turn to Mayfield to give the team some juice.

He came in and immediately found Van Jefferson for a 21-yard catch which led to a field goal for the Rams.

L.A.’s offense wasn’t able to do much else until the fourth quarter, but that’s when the magic happened. Mayfield first led a 17-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that was helped by a couple of silly Raiders penalties.

And then…

After the Rams defense got a stop, Mayfield and the offense got the ball back needing to go 98 yards in less than two minutes to score the game-winning touchdown.

They again got some help from some Raiders penalties, but what Mayfield and the Rams accomplish felt almost impossible. Throwing to receivers like Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek, Mayfield brought the Rams right down the field. And then with 16 seconds left, Mayfield again found Jefferson, who hauled in a 50-50 ball to score the game-winning touchdown.

It marked the first time in NFL history that a team went 98 yards in fewer than two minutes to score the game-winning touchdown. The Raiders and their fans that represented about 75% of SoFi Stadium saw their playoff hopes come crashing down by a quarterback who was basically introducing himself to his teammates right before kickoff.

Even though Rams fans haven’t had much to cheer about this season, Baker Mayfield at least gave them one night to smile. And he may have even made the final four games of the season watchable. Let’s see what he can do this week with 10 days of preparation for the Green Bay Packers!