Little did McVay know then that the 2 would mix for one of the historic, unlikeliest come-from-behind wins in league historical past.
“Identical to we drew it up,” McVay quipped at first of Thursday’s postgame press convention.
A mere 48 hours after becoming a member of the Rams, Mayfield rallied his new workforce 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 night time 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 total choose requested for his launch. The Panthers obliged, resulting in a contemporary begin in Los Angeles, because the Rams had been the one workforce 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 sequence. With Matthew Stafford out attributable to a spinal wire contusion and Wolford banged up with a neck harm of his personal, McVay opted to go along 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 during the last 45 seasons, in accordance 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 workforce earlier than enjoying 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. But it surely was plenty 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 attainable 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 for those who might write it any higher than that,” Mayfield stated. “Clearly, we’d prefer it to be somewhat extra stress-free, nevertheless it’s a fairly rattling good story, to be trustworthy with you. It’s particular.”
Mayfield significantly impressed his new teammates together with his potential to be taught a brand new playbook in a brief period of time, enjoying with command and confidence in a high-leverage scenario 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 be taught the sport plan — be taught our names (laughs) — hats off to him. He performed nice tonight.
“I’m excited to go to conflict with him. I’ll go to conflict with him any day. He’s the kind of competitor you need to play with. It was superior.”
Working again Cam Akers stated Mayfield exuded confidence and quietness within the huddle.
“It shocked me,” Akers stated. “Not his potential, however simply how he was capable of choose up on the offense, are available in and know all the pieces. It was surreal to me, however he did it. Large 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 in search of 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 might 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 effectively.
“That man loves soccer,” Mayfield stated of McVay. “He’s all about ball. You may inform he’s a relationship man, too. And we talked loads about my coaches previously, what made them particular and simply making an attempt to level out what made sure gamers or coaches nice.”
Over the ultimate quarter Thursday night time, Mayfield and McVay made one another look nice. How they work collectively over the subsequent month might 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, overlaying 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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