Baker Mayfield was given the Los Angeles Rams’ playbook Tuesday night while flying to the team that claimed him off waivers as the Carolina Panthers released him earlier this week.
With only a day and a half to figure out head coach Sean McVay’s offense, Mayfield was active and in the game for the Rams on Thursday night against the Las Vegas Raiders.
It was a question whether Mayfield would be active, let alone step under center for Los Angeles despite their quarterback problems heading into the short week. Matthew Stafford’s season is likely over as he’s currently on injured reserve, while his backup, John Wolford, is dealing with a neck injury.
Mayfield was active, but Wolford ran out onto the SoFi Stadium field for the Rams’ first series of the game.
However, Mayfield jogged in after Los Angeles went three-and-out on their first drive and took the offensive reins.
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Before the game, Amazon’s Kirk Herbstreit asked Mayfield if he even got throws in with his wide receivers. He said he had around 20 throws.
But on his first play of the game, it was a play-action pass that he completed to Van Jefferson for 21 yards to get going. The Rams would eventually settle for a 55-yard field goal kicked by Matt Gay for their first points of the game.
It’s been a whirlwind of a season for Mayfield, who was traded prior to the season from the Cleveland Browns to the Panthers. The Browns traded for Deshaun Watson and signed him to a multi-year deal, virtually ending Mayfield’s place as the franchise quarterback in Cleveland after the team selected him first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Mayfield went to Carolina where the quarterback position was wide open, fighting for the starting job with Sam Darnold, the man picked two draft slots after him by the New York Jets, and P.J. Walker. Mayfield won the job out of training camp, but the regular-season results weren’t positive.
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Mayfield won just one of his five starts to begin the 2022-23 campaign and was benched just days after the Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule. Interim head coach Steve Wilks went with Walker, then Darnold and then back to Mayfield in Week 11 against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Oklahoma product went 21 of 33 for 196 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns, leading to a 13-3 loss.
Carolina moved on and the Rams, struggling with a 3-9 record after winning the Super Bowl last season, needed a quarterback. Mayfield signed the dotted line, got the CliffsNotes version of the playbook, and it’s baptism by fire on “Thursday Night Football.”
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