Little did McVay know then that the 2 would mix for one of the vital historic, unlikeliest come-from-behind wins in league historical past.
“Similar to we drew it up,” McVay quipped firstly of Thursday’s postgame press convention.
A mere 48 hours after becoming a member of the Rams, Mayfield rallied his new staff from a 13-point deficit within the fourth quarter with a pair of landing drives — the latter of which spanned eight performs and 98 yards with lower than two minutes remaining.
The evening culminated in Mayfield discovering Van Jefferson on a fade route for a 23-yard TD with 9 seconds left to safe a jaw-dropping, 17-16 victory over the visiting Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium. That snapped a six-game dropping streak for the defending Tremendous Bowl champs, and reignited a beforehand unknown coach-quarterback connection.
Simply three weeks in the past, Mayfield had been benched in Carolina in favor of Sam Darnold. Simply three days in the past, the previous No. 1 general decide requested for his launch. The Panthers obliged, resulting in a contemporary begin in Los Angeles, because the Rams had been the one staff to position a waiver declare for the Oklahoma product.
Mayfield had been in L.A. for all of two days, and practiced as soon as with the Rams previous to Thursday’s heroics. McVay began John Wolford, however only for one collection. With Matthew Stafford out on account of a spinal twine contusion and Wolford banged up with a neck harm of his personal, McVay opted to go together with Mayfield over Bryce Perkins.
That call took simply 60 minutes to repay, as L.A.’s 98-yard march to win the sport was the NFL’s longest go-ahead landing drive to start within the remaining two minutes over the past 45 seasons, in line with the Elias Sports activities Bureau. Mayfield’s two days earlier than debuting was additionally the shortest period of time a participant has spent with a brand new staff earlier than taking part in QB since no less than 1995, per NFL Analysis. Mayfield manifested that chance by main his eighth profession game-winning drive.
“I used to be actually impressed,” McVay stated. “I don’t know if I might say stunned as a result of I’ve at all times been a fan of the issues he was able to. However to say I anticipated this, it actually exceeded our expectations. Nevertheless it was a whole lot of enjoyable watching him go to work.”
Mayfield accomplished 22 of 35 passes for 230 yards and a landing with no interceptions. That features going 15-of-20 for 141 yards within the fourth quarter. The Rams had been aided by two defensive penalties on the go-ahead drive — a go interference name on cornerback Amik Robertson in protection in opposition to Jefferson, and an unsportsmanlike penalty on defensive lineman Jerry Tillery for knocking the ball out of Mayfield’s arms after the play was over.
The QB’s heroics had been additionally made doable by his protection stuffing Josh Jacobs on third-and-1 from Vegas’ 34-yard line simply previous to the two-minute warning, forcing a Raiders punt. Jacobs completed with 99 dashing yards however wanted 27 carries to get them. The Raiders dropped to 5-8 with the loss, ending their three-game profitable streak. This marked their fourth defeat of the season when main by double digits at halftime.
“I don’t know should you may write it any higher than that,” Mayfield stated. “Clearly, we’d prefer it to be somewhat extra stress-free, but it surely’s a fairly rattling good story, to be sincere with you. It’s particular.”
Mayfield significantly impressed his new teammates along with his capability to study a brand new playbook in a brief period of time, taking part in with command and confidence in a high-leverage state of affairs with the sport on the road.
“No matter occurs from right here on out, I’ve acquired nothing however respect for Baker Mayfield,” stated receiver Ben Skowronek, who had a 32-yard catch on the profitable drive. “To have a man are available in like that, work his tail off for 48 hours and study the sport plan — study our names (laughs) — hats off to him. He performed nice tonight.
“I’m excited to go to struggle with him. I’ll go to struggle with him any day. He’s the kind of competitor you wish to play with. It was superior.”
Working again Cam Akers stated Mayfield exuded confidence and tranquility within the huddle.
“It shocked me,” Akers stated. “Not his capability, however simply how he was in a position to decide up on the offense, are available in and know the whole lot. It was surreal to me, however he did it. Massive ups to him.”
McVay stated he witnessed that confidence first-hand on the four-hour flight from L.A. to Indianapolis 4 years in the past. The Rams had simply gained the NFC West earlier than falling to the Atlanta Falcons within the wild-card spherical. With 23-year-old Jared Goff coming off a Professional Bowl marketing campaign, the second-year coach wasn’t on the lookout for a quarterback.
“It was a Southwest flight, we acquired the early boarding, and we sat proper subsequent to one another,” McVay stated. “It was the one LAX direct flight to Indy. And you can simply see he’s a person’s man. He loves soccer. He’s a fantastic competitor. We had been simply speaking. We weren’t even within the combine to have an opportunity of getting him.”
Mayfield fondly remembers the dialog, as nicely.
“That man loves soccer,” Mayfield stated of McVay. “He’s all about ball. You possibly can inform he’s a relationship man, too. And we talked so much about my coaches up to now, what made them particular and simply making an attempt to level out what made sure gamers or coaches nice.”
Over the ultimate quarter Thursday evening, Mayfield and McVay made one another look nice. How they work collectively over the subsequent month may decide whether or not this partnership continues in 2023.
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Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, masking the Los Angeles Rams for Sports activities Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma Information Tribune. Comply with him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.
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